Dundee manager Jim McIntyre promised it “will get better” after watching his team self-destruct at Dens Park last night.
The struggling Dark Blues made it nine defeats from 10 Premiership matches as they lost 3-0 to high-flying Hearts.
Goals from Oliver Bozanic, Steven Naismith and Steven MacLean secured what was a comfortable win for the visitors, who go into their Betfred Cup semi-final against Celtic in excellent shape.
What was frustrating in the extreme for McIntyre, who was in the home dugout for the first time after replacing Neil McCann last week, was that they lost early goals in both halves.
However, he still tried to be positive, saying: “It is (a harsh lesson), to be honest, when you start the games the way we started.
“It was a needless freekick to give away and Hearts showed their quality with a brilliant freekick that punished us.
“We need to give ourselves a hand, though.
“The players showed plenty to character at 2-0 down, considering the way it has been going recently.
“It would be easy to feel sorry for yourself and just collapse but we never did that.
“We didn’t crumble.
“We still had a real go at it in the first half and created some good opportunities ourselves. So that’s the positives to take from this.
“But we need to eradicate the self-destruction. There is a bit of that.
“There might be a bit of pain before it gets better but it will get better – that’s for sure.
“Hearts are a good side but you can’t stand off teams. You have to make sure you take the game to them and make your own opportunities.
“I felt we did that on a number of occasions and drove Hearts back.
“When you get chances you have to put them away because it gives you belief to go on to the next level.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t tuck any away.”
The worst miss was Calvin Miller’s spotkick that flew past the post when the score was at 2-0.
McIntyre added: “The penalty was the biggest chance.
“We then came out for the second half knowing that the next goal would be so important but, unfortunately for us, we made another mistake by taking a poor touch in the side area and not clearing it.
“Hearts then cut us open and it was damage limitation after that.
“We tried to get back into the game and at least get a goal for our night’s work but we didn’t.
“As I say, there is a lot of hard work ahead.”