Mark Reynolds admitted Dundee United were guilty of naivety in the way they let the game run away from them at Rugby Park.
The Tangerines had gone into Saturday’s trip to Kilmarnock with two disciplined and successful away days behind them, at Motherwell and Ross County.
However, things got extremely bumpy on the road for them as they were thumped 4-0 by a Killie side that had hitherto been without a win this season.
The Tannadice captain conceded that they left the door open for the home team to counter-attack them as they tried to get back in the game.
Reynolds said: “We knew that Kilmarnock had had a bad start to the season, that they would be hurting and that would make them dangerous but the goals we gave away were cheap.
“It’s disappointing because we knew they might be low on confidence and we wanted to capitalise on that.
“If we had scored an early goal it could have sunk their morale but we lost the two goals and it was an uphill battle after that.
“The second goal just before half-time kills it for us, really. You are one down and the next goals swings it.
“If it had stayed 1-0 until the break we could have regrouped and then come out hunting them.
“We were chasing the game after that and they could just sit back and hit us on the break and pick us apart when they wanted to,” added the central defender.
“We kept trying to break them down but it was hard and we were a bit naive when they countered against us for their last two goals.
“Maybe last year in the Championship we got away with poor decisions without being punished but you aren’t going to get away with them at this level.
“However, we will work on those mistakes in training over the next two weeks and we will come back stronger for it.”
Reynolds stressed it is early days, with United sitting on seven points after half-a-dozen fixtures.
“We are only six games into the season and everyone is still finding their form,” he said.
“By the looks of things, everyone is capable of beating everyone else so it looks as though it will be a very tight league.”
Meanwhile, United striker Lawrence Shankland will be with his club rather than country this week as he battles against his ankle injury.
Shankland missed the Killie game – his fifth absence this season – and subsequently withdrew from the Scotland squad for the Nations League clashes with Israel and the Czech Republic.
Tannadice boss Micky Mellon said: “He’s just not improved to a place where he was going to even be close to being available (at Kilmarnock).
“It wouldn’t have been fair to Dundee United or Scotland to have him involved.
“I don’t know when he’s going to be available.
“There was no trauma, no moment where we could say: ‘There’s the injury – let’s deal with it.’
“It just came on out of nowhere but sometimes those injuries can disappear just as quickly. Fingers crossed.”
Mellon was asked if he was close to strengthening his squad, replying: “We are working hard to try and do it but there’s nothing imminent.
“I’m more concentrated on trying to get this group of players up to speed at a new level.”