Dundee’s mentality has to change – that’s the stark warning from talisman Charlie Adam to his team-mates after seeing a three-goal lead given up at home to Dunfermline.
Adam went off with a thigh injury on 72 minutes after scoring once and setting up two goals for his side as they sailed into a 3-0 lead.
However, he watched on with horror from the sidelines as the Dark Blues let their deserved advantage crumble in the last 12 minutes of the game with Declan McManus’s fine free-kick levelling things up at 3-3 with the last kick of the game.
Adam said: “We were 3-0 up and cruising but as soon as we lost the first goal it became difficult for us.
It’s been a tough week off the pitch, the support I have had from family friends manager and team mates have been incredible. But getting onto the pitch makes it so much easier pic.twitter.com/vmlP5V4hHK
— Charlie Adam (@Charlie26Adam) December 19, 2020
“It is a mentality thing that we need to try to change as a group.
“We need to understand when there are times in the game that it is starting to turn to the other team, we have to stay solid and look to the leaders in the group.
“We have to get after each other, become ruthless and hard to break down.
“Even at 3-0 when they scored their goal, we looked open. Sometimes it is not tactical, nothing else but people making individual errors.
“It doesn’t matter what level you are at, you will get punished and that happened.”
Adam added: “That result is not down to the manager, it is down to the players as a group.
“We had to see that game out. It is not about tactics, it is about using your brain and understanding where you are in a match – getting throw-ins higher up the pitch, fouls.
“But we have strikers trying to dribble out from defensive areas and getting caught – individual errors are costing us and we need to try and eradicate that as quickly as possible.
“If we don’t, it is going to be a long season for us.”
For much of the contest Dundee looked certain to pick up a much-needed three points that could have kickstarted their Championship campaign, such was the dominance against a team that had started the season so strongly.
Chances came and went for the Dark Blues in the opening period with Jordan McGhee, once again utilised alongside Adam in midfield, hitting the post early on.
The Pars showed glimpses of threat, most notably through Kyle Turner pouncing on a slack pass from Christie Elliott and bringing a good save out of Jack Hamilton.
However, Adam took the game by the scruff of the neck and fired his side in front with a goal of the season contender on 35 minutes.
Finding space in the centre circle, the former Liverpool and Stoke man strode forward before unleashing an unstoppable strike from 35-yards that flew beyond the despairing Owain Fon Williams in the visiting goal.
The lead was no less than Dundee deserved and they added to it shortly after half-time when Osman Sow grabbed his first goal for the club, glancing in an Adam free-kick delivery.
And it was an Adam cross that brought goal No 3, this time a corner kick for Liam Fontaine to turn in on 69 minutes.
Adam’s day, though, ended on 72 minutes as a thigh problem forced him off.
“To come off with an injury is frustrating,” Adam added.
“It has been niggling for the last couple of weeks and it didn’t get any better on Saturday.”
Six minutes after that Dunfermline staged their comeback.
First former Dundee United defender Paul Watson evaded marker Fontaine to head into the net on 78 minutes.
Then a rash challenge from ex-Pars man Lee Ashcroft brought down Lewis McCann in the area and gave McManus the chance to make it 3-2 from the spot.
He duly took that before rescuing a point in the 93rd-minute with a sweetly-struck free-kick.
Adam admits that sort of defending isn’t acceptable for a club like Dundee.
He said: “A corner, a penalty and a free-kick.
“It is a great free-kick from McManus but we have to see these games out especially when you are winning 3-0.
“I said in the dressing-room that is four points dropped in the last two weeks.
“There is no hiding from the fact that we need to start winning football matches if we want to do anything this season.
“That’s not just trying to win leagues, that’s climbing up from where we are in the league which is not good enough for this football club.
“Again, we passed it well, created chances, had good play but if you don’t stop conceding goals you won’t win games and that’s where we are at the moment.”