Liam Fox is adamant Dundee United’s survival bid won’t be defined by one defeat against Rangers.
However, the Tannadice head coach reckons the 2-0 reverse will act as “a wee reminder” of how far the Tangerines are away from the finished article.
United turned in a fine first-half showing against the pedestrian Gers, with Steven Fletcher and Liam Smith both coming close.
However, Rangers went through the gears in the second half.
United remain in a relegation playoff position — albeit level on points with 10th-placed Motherwell — following their first defeat since the restart.
“I thought we played well for spells in the first half and pushed Rangers,” said Fox. “But goals change games and we were disappointed to lose one so soon after the restart.
“There were aspects of the first half I was really pleased with, but the game lasts for 90 minutes and we have lessons to learn.
“Our season won’t be defined by Sunday’s result. We have some big games to come and I feel like we’ve made progress. But we still have a long way to go and that (result) is probably just a wee reminder of how far we’ve got to go.
“We need to take our medicine — then get back to work because we’ve got a massive game next week (against Hibs).”
Fox added: “You have to give some credit to Rangers. They have some very good players and started well in the second half. You could feel the flow of the game really, really change after the goals. It became difficult.”
Fletcher vs Watt call
United boss also explained his decision to bench Tony Watt — the match-winner against St Johnstone last time out — in favour of the returning Fletcher.
“Tony (Watt) did great for us last week and got the winner,” said Fox. “Tony will naturally be disappointed but he got on the pitch.
“(Steven) Fletcher has a bit of credit in the bank with me because of his performances since I got the job. My job is to make decisions and the more good players I have, the tougher decisions I have to make.”
Fox, meanwhile, confirmed that he hopes to have Jamie McGrath and Peter Pawlett back in contention to face Hibs next weekend, while there has been no further movement regarding reported transfer interest in Aziz Behich, Tony Watt and Rory MacLeod.