Charlie Adam insists it’s up to the Dundee squad to take criticism from their calamitous 6-2 opening day defeat at Hearts on the chin, saying there is “no excuse” for the performance.
And the former Scotland midfielder has challenged his team-mates to respond positively to the “reality check” dished out by the Jambos at Tynecastle on Friday night.
After seven months of waiting, Dees’ joy of seeing their team back in action – if only on TV – quickly turned to dismay with their side looking well off the pace set by their hosts.
Almost immediately Hearts were in front with Michael Smith netting within three minutes and Josh Ginnelly making it 2-0 after 25 minutes.
“Disaster, really, right from the start,” was Adam’s assessment of the game.
“We started slowly, we knew Hearts would come out the traps and we never adjusted to it or reacted to it.
“All of a sudden we were two goals down in the space of a number of minutes and we could not get back into the game. It was not a level we expected from ourselves.
“They just came out of the traps and we made unforced errors in bad areas and the whole collective group was not good enough.
“It was not just individually, it was the whole group. We will look at it again this week.
“We need to dust ourselves down and realise when you come to places like this, or any place in this league, you need to be at it from the word go.
“You need to win second balls and be positive. But no, it was not good enough. We have to take the criticism that comes and deal with that.
“Listen, they have set the tone for the rest of the season. We have to be good enough to try and track them.”
We felt we had good momentum and were in a good headspace but that was not the level we expect from this group of players and this football club.”
The Jambos were 4-1 up at the break before a glimmer of revival for the Dark Blues in the second half cut the deficit to two.
However, late goals from Stephen Kingsley and Andy Halliday ended the evening on an emphatic note for the men from Gorgie.
Boss Robbie Neilson indicated after the game he felt that after just one Betfred Cup match against Highland League opposition Brora Rangers, Hearts could catch their opponents cold.
Adam, though, rejects that.
He said: “Listen, we knew Hearts would come out of the traps.
“We just never dealt with it.
“It is nothing to do with them playing ten pre-season games and we have played four.
“That is no excuse.
“We just never got going from the get-go.
“It is hurtful to take but you know, we have to look at it as a group and as a team and try and pick the bones from it and move on.”
He added: “At the end of the day, it is easy to play when you are 4-1 down.
“It is harder to play when it is 0-0 and it is tight.
“When you are losing 4-1, you can take care of it – but right from the start it was not good enough and it was a sore one to take.
“We felt we had good momentum and were in a good headspace but that was not the level we expect from this group of players and this football club.”
One small bright note for the ex-Rangers, Liverpool, Blackpool and Stoke man was his first competitive goal for his boyhood club.
The quality of the strike to make it 2-1 on 27 minutes, however, has been completely over-shadowed by the abject nature of the rest of the display from the Dark Blues.
And the 34-year-old takes no joy from the goal.
“No, none at all,” he said.
“Because I hate getting beat. It is frustrating when you get beat.
“Winning is all that matters and the team is the most important thing.
“Hopefully, come next week at home to Morton we will be ready, and that will be because we have looked at it back many times and picked the bones out.
“We will have to be ready for that first home game.”
That first home game sees David Hopkin’s Ton travel to Dens Park on Saturday fresh from a 1-0 victory over Alloa Athletic.
And Adam says it’s up to Dundee to put Friday night’s thumping behind them as quickly as possible.
“We have gone to Hearts and been beaten 6-2. It can’t get worse,” he added.
“But it is only us who can stop that.
“Fair play to Hearts, they have set the tone from the get-go.
“We just never reacted to it. And when we get to 2-1, a bad penalty goes against you but listen, what I keep saying is that it’s not good enough.
“It is a huge disappointment from where we thought we were.
“Maybe it is the reality check we needed.”