Mark O’Hara says Saturday’s home horror show against St Johnstone is the “biggest wake-up call you can get” as Dundee steel themselves for a relegation battle.
The 4-0 scoreline at Dens Park was kind on the Dark Blues’ performance and leaves them in 10th spot, just three points ahead of Partick, who sit in the relegation play-off place.
And O’Hara knows a reaction is needed to kickstart what is certainly a survival bid, starting on Saturday at Aberdeen, a trip Dundee haven’t enjoyed too much of late.
He said: “It’s make or break now for us. Obviously, it’s not too late but the St Johnstone game is the biggest wake-up call you can get.
“We can’t play like that again, simple as that.
“The next game at Aberdeen, a reaction needs to happen and we need points desperately. We can’t dwell on last week, we’ve got to get the spirits lifted and put in the hard work.
“We need to find a change of form. This weekend, people won’t give us much of a chance at Aberdeen but we see it as a chance to get a good three points.
“We’ve been up there this season, played well but lost 2-1 and should have taken something from the game.
“I think we’ll take encouragement from that and we need to erase Saturday as quickly as possible — we all need to move forward.”
The 22-year-old midfielder says he was “numb” with disbelief after the Tayside derby at how desperately poor the performance was.
Saints took full advantage of Dundee’s troubles with an own goal from Dee debutant Jordan Piggott added to by Chris Kane for a 2-0 half-time lead.
Then Blair Alston and Kane again sealed a massive win for St Johnstone on an entirely-forgettable day for the Dark Blues.
O’Hara added: “I felt numb after the game. It was really disappointing.
“We had a good couple of weeks’ training and felt really confident going into the game but it was pretty surreal the outcome and result.
“How we played — I think that was the worst performance since I’ve been here by a mile.
“It was a dark day but there’s no point in dwelling on it, we need to pull together and turn it around.
“St Johnstone were on a bad run of form and it was a game at home, it was a good chance for us to jump above them.
“We went into our shells and didn’t stick as a team.
“That was shocking, there were no positives to take. We just need to get it out of our minds as soon as we can and, hopefully, turn it around next game.”
O’Hara will have Paul McGowan and Glen Kamara back alongside him at Pittodrie at the weekend.
They were big misses at Dens but O’Hara expected more from the XI that started last Saturday.
“We were missing key players, which doesn’t help, but we’ve got enough quality in the changing-room and it was so disappointing the way it went.
“Going into the game we were more than confident we were a good team and were ready to go. They are two influential players who were obviously missed. They’ll be back soon and, hopefully, can help us turn it around.”
With five home defeats on the bounce, a game on the road might just take the pressure off a wee bit.
“It shouldn’t but I think it might. Playing away, as I said, people won’t give us much chance at Aberdeen,” he added.
“All pressure is on them, though. We just need to get back to playing how we were five, six games ago.
“Hopefully, a change of scenery brings a change of fortune.”