Dundee boss Paul Hartley accepts his team are in a relegation dogfight following the 7-0 mauling by Aberdeen on Friday night.
Results elsewhere at the weekend mean second-bottom Hamilton are now only three points adrift of the Dark Blues.
And, after the horror show against the Dons, the manager has warned his players they need to roll up their sleeves and show character in their eight remaining games — starting tonight at Ross County.
He also stressed, from now until the end of the season all that matters is getting points on the board — performances can wait.
He said: “We’re in for a real battle with eight games to go, there’s no doubt about it. The players have to show their strength of character and the mental side more than anything.”
Looking back at Friday’s thumping, the manager added: “The players should be looking themselves in the mirror. Where did they get that performance from?
“We were on that bad run around about October when we were at the bottom of the league. We said this is going to be a fight right to the end of the season.
“It was never going to be easy but they’ve got to now roll their sleeves up and make sure they are ready to battle for everything.
“We’ve got to make sure they are lifted for the next game. That’s my job, I’ve got to galvanise them to make sure they are ready for Ross County.
“It’s another tough game but every game is going to be like this between now and the end of the season. It’s about points now. It’s not going to be about performances.
“I do believe we’ve got good characters in the dressing-room but it can’t just be one or two individuals.”