Coll Donaldson has delivered a withering assessment of Dunfermline’s ‘inexcusable’ collapse against Queen of the South on Friday night.
And the Pars defender is adamant the capitulation must serve as ‘the final straw’ — and a shuddering wake-up call ahead of their playoff survival bid.
The Fifers, leading at half-time courtesy of a Josh Edwards strike, were woeful after the break. Joe Chalmers’ bizarre own goal and a Darragh O’Connor header completed an unlikely turnaround.
As it happens, a victory wouldn’t have been enough for John Hughes’ men due to Ayr’s win over Partick Thistle.
Nevertheless, Dunfermline’s abject failure to hold up their end of the bargain was utterly unacceptable to a visibly seething Donaldson.
“That was inexcusable, given what was at stake,” slammed Donaldson. “To come out in the second half and produce a performance like that in front of such a big crowd is embarrassing.
“It hurts. It was dreadful.
“We are where we are because of performances like Friday. That is why needed to beat an already-relegated Queen of the South on the final day of the season to have any chance of staying in the league automatically.
“That’s the reality. It’s because we play like we did in the second half more often than how we played in the first half.”
Asked whether news of Ayr’s lead against Thistle may have prompted the meek display after the interval, Donaldson added: “It might have affected us but it shouldn’t have. That’s no excuse. What are we meant to do about what’s going on at Somerset Park?”
‘There’s nothing else’
Dunfermline will now travel to Firhill to face Queen’s Park in the playoff semi-final first leg, with the return match at East End Park on Saturday.
The victors of that tie will cross swords with either Montrose or Airdrie for a place in next season’s Championship.
“If we’ve not realised by now the position we are in, then Friday had to be the night,” continued a fired-up Donaldson. “It has to be the final straw for boys.
“These playoff games are absolutely massive. We have to leave it all out there because there’s nothing else.
“For the past few months we’ve maybe been thinking, ‘oh, there’s another home game where we can pick up points’. Well, that’s done.”
He added: “There is massive pressure. But sometimes it’s as simple as: this is our job and we need to do that job.”
The end of the world
Donaldson has endured the pain of relegation from the Premiership with Dundee United in 2016.
He has also been involved in a promotion playoff campaign with Inverness, ironically losing out to the Tangerines in 2018/19.
“It’s definitely harder at this end than the top,” lamented Donaldson. “If we go down, it’s not the end of the world — but it’s about as close as you can get.”