Anthony Ralston insists it isn’t game over for Dundee United despite their calamitous loss to Livingston.
The Tangerines will have to pick themselves up off the floor and try somehow to overturn a 3-2 first leg deficit in the Premiership play-off semi-final when the second match takes place at the Tony Macaroni Arena on Friday night.
The odds look stacked against them after they chucked away what had looked like a comfortable lead.
Along with the psychological damage their defensive disasters will have inflicted, they will be without captain Willo Flood to suspension following his late red card on Monday night, central defender Bilel Mohsni to a groin problem and first-choice goalkeeper Deniz to a cruciate ligament injury.
You could argue that the Livi players think qualification for the final is already in the bag, given the way they celebrated with their fans after the full-time whistle.
However, Ralston, who had an excellent game for United as a rampaging right-back, claimed that the Tangerines can still rescue victory.
The on-loan Celtic player said: “Obviously, it’s a hard one to take.
“It’s going to feel sore for a while but we will pick ourselves back up.
“Come the next match, the boys will all have forgotten about it and we will be ready to go again.
“It was tough.
“I thought the first half was outstanding from the boys – the effort we put in.
“Then, in the space of about 15 minutes, we lost the game.
“These things can happen in football but I guess the good thing is that we have Friday night to come.
“I feel that we can take a lot of confidence from how we performed despite the defeat.
“We still believe we can turn the tie around.
“Every time I have spoken to the media since arriving at United I have praised the boys and the spirit there is in the team.
“There is a desire there when the going gets tough.
“We showed that against Dunfermline and we’ll show it again on Friday, I am sure.”
Raslston was asked about what seemed like over-exuberant celebrations from their opponents at Tannadice but he shrugged them off.
“No, they shouldn’t think like that (the tie is over) but they won the game and I am sure we would have done the same had we won.
“On Friday, I am confident it will be us celebrating.
“We are still confident going into the second match because we did create a lot of chances and played very well for long spells.
“We could have walked away as winners the other night but I am sure, on Friday, that will be the case.”
Ralston admitted that the absence of Flood will hurt United and felt it was a harsh decision to send him packing for pushing Shaun Byrne.
He said: “These things happen and tempers flare, especially in big games like that one.
“I don’t think there was anything cynical in it and I was right next to it.
“But that’s the referee’s decision and we have to pick ourselves back up.
“Willo is a big part of everything we do and is a great character,” added Ralston.
“When it does get hard at times for the team he is always there to pick the boys up.
“He will there with the squad to back us and we also have other lads who can come in and do a job.”