James McPake slammed Dundee’s “embarrassingly poor” first half showing against Queen of the South – and admitted there are no excuses for his side’s defeat by the Doonhamers.
The Dark Blues were overtaken in the Championship table by the in-form Dumfries side and dropped out of the play-off places following the 3-2 reverse.
McPake lamented his side’s start to the match that saw them concede a penalty within the opening minute and fall two goals behind before half-time.
But he rejected any notion of rustiness affecting his side in the opening period after three weeks without a game.
“I’m not making excuses for that, we’ve trained hard enough,” he said.
“When the games have been off, we’ve worked so there are no excuses. I’m not giving myself or anyone else a get out by saying we were rusty. We were just second best.
“We were up against it after our first half performance which was embarrassingly poor.
“To lose a goal after 37 seconds or whatever is criminal.
“But that happens in football – you take knocks and it’s how you get back up from them. On Saturday, we didn’t.
“We were sloppy and couldn’t do the basics right.
“You lose a goal so early, give the referee a decision to make and he makes it. It’s basic stuff.
“The goal comes from our throw-in and the second is switching off and not doing our jobs in the box.
“Normally in football you get what you deserve.”
Second-half improvement ‘too little, too late’
Dundee’s performance did improve in the second period as they threw everything at Queen of the South.
Chances came and went early in the half but they only had Jason Cummings’ first strike for the club to show for their efforts by the 77th minute.
That’s when Willie Gibson thundered in a third for the visitors and earned his side a sixth victory in their last nine matches.
Jordan Marshall would notch Dundee’s second goal on 82 minutes but it wasn’t enough as the Dark Blues suffered their first home defeat since January 18, 2020.
Though he felt his team should have had a goal to make it 2-2 when Osman Sow poked in from close range only for the referee to blow for a foul on the goalkeeper, McPake admits the third concession shows “real problems” in his side.
He said: “You ask the players: ‘Why does it take a first half like that to improve?’
“That’s when you have a look at the character but it was too little, too late.
“I’m not buying the fact we lost a goal after a minute because you’ve still got 90 minutes to get back in the game.
“We had plenty of time to get back in but the first half cost us the game. We were ridiculously poor in that first half to a man.”
The Dundee boss added: “The goal in the second half should have been a goal.
“I can see the referee’s point of view about the goalkeeper having a hand on the ball but he actually spills it. It’s a tough one but he called it that way.
“It should have been a goal and we’d be back in the game but I can’t let go the fact we let a player run the full length of the pitch almost and stick it in the top corner.
“Take nothing away from Willie Gibson’s finish but if we can’t stop a full-back running the full length of the pitch then there are real problems.”