Saturday was a sore one for Dundee United, losing 5-2 at Hearts.
And it was unlike them considering how strong their defence has been for a good while now.
Considering their league position and the way they have gone about things this season, it’s not a time to worry about things too much.
No doubt, Tam Courts will be planning to use the international break to work on what went wrong at Tynecastle.
Defenders learn the hard way
The second half, though, showed just how big a loss Charlie Mulgrew is to the side.
That’s not having a go at young Kerr Smith who came on for him, mind you.
United have an extremely talented player on their hands in Smith.
Though it won’t have felt like it to the youngster on Saturday, those sorts of games are invaluable for a young defender.
It sounds silly that a 5-2 loss can be anything but a negative but, believe me, it can be the best thing to happen to a defender in the long-term.
Strikers and midfielders learn on the ball, missing shots or passes.
Defenders unfortunately learn the hard way – mistakes lead to goals.
You find out when not to step out, when to play safe and what happens when you give the ball away.
That happened for the final goal on Saturday.
But Smith will learn a lot about himself and how he reacts to setbacks.
There’s no point every game going perfectly for a young defender – you learn most from your mistakes.
The player will realise that himself.
He has good people around him as well who will keep his head straight.
He’s had to deal with a lot already for such a young man.
There has been all sorts of speculation over big teams interested.
He’s been linked with a whole host of big clubs – Liverpool, Manchester United, Everton, Southampton.
You have to deal with that and try to ignore it. He seems to have a real confidence around him and he has taken all of that in his stride.
But Dundee United need to make sure they are managing him, too.
Protect him at times and help the player handle the situation.
A big thing is also keeping him informed so he’s not hearing about anything through the papers rather than the club, that’s key.
Kick up the backside
Though it hurt at the weekend, young Kerr will take so much from that game at Tynecastle.
The whole squad – and the manager – have to learn from it as well, though.
There is a lot going right at Tannadice, they can’t let one negative result get in the way of what has been a successful season so far.
Courts will have a determination to come back after the international break as a better Dundee United.
And maybe the defeat came at a good time – sometimes a team needs a good kick up the backside every now and then.
A wee reality check from time to time keeps everyone on their toes.