Dundee boss James McPake says he didn’t see his side’s 6-2 capitulation at Hearts coming as the Dark Blues got their league campaign off on the wrong foot.
McPake’s side were second best right from the first whistle as Robbie Neilson’s Jambos romped into a 4-1 half-time lead before turning the screw late on.
Andy Halliday’s goal in stoppage time ended the scoring to emulate the scoreline of Neilson’s first meeting with Dundee last season as United boss.
This time, the Dens boss said: “We started the game very poor and weren’t at the races.
“We deserved everything we got from that game which was nothing. A really poor performance.
“The last thing we said in the dressing-room was Hearts would come at us and knew that would be the case but we didn’t perform.”
Michael Smith and Josh Ginnelly goals had the Jambos 2-0 up after 25 minutes before Charlie Adam smashed in a superb goal on 27 minutes.
Swiftly, though, Dundee were further behind with Liam Boyce’s penalty on 34 minutes before Stephen Kingsley made it 4-1 at the break.
Dundee improved somewhat in the second period and got a goal back through Danny Mullen but two late strikes from Kingsley and Halliday completed the hammering at Tynecastle.
And McPake is looking for “courage and character” from his side to get back on their feet.
“I can’t take any positives out of that, none,” McPake added.
“Even the second half – that’s easy to look positive when you are 4-1 down, it doesn’t take courage to do that.
“It will take players with big character for two big home games coming up where we’ll need to be at it or the same thing will happen. We have to show courage and character and I’m confident we’ve got that.
“I didn’t see that coming, I’ll be honest. As a team defensively, not just the goalkeeper and defenders, we’d looked sound.
“We had done a lot of work on that but it didn’t look like we’d worked on it at all. That’s the concerning thing for me.
“It’s my job to get that right”
To add injury to insult, the Dark Blues will be assessing problems picked up by Jordon Forster and Osman Sow in the coming days.