Dunfermline manager Allan Johnston described the performance of his players in the home defeat by Queen of the South as the worst he’s witnessed since taking over as manager at East End Park.
And there was no-one more disappointed than club captain Callum Morris following the 5-2 thrashing at the hands of the rampant Doonhamers, who stormed into the top three in the Championship thanks to a hat-trick from talismanic frontman Stephen Dobbie and a brace from on-loan St Johnstone striker Chris Kane.
“All the players are disappointed, angry and frustrated” said the former Republic of Ireland Under 21 internationalist after the game
“Conceding goals early on put us on the back foot and at half time we knew we had to score quickly to get back into the game.
“We did that but it didn’t happen for us and we went back to playing the same way as we started.
“Our form hasn’t been great lately but sometimes results like this can be a wake-up call. We’ll look back at the video and try to put things right.”
It all started to go wrong for the Pars when Kane opened the scoring in the eighth minute, finishing off an intricate passing movement involving Dobbie and Andrew Stirling and the same player made it 2-0 just before the half-hour, beating Sean Murdoch at the near post after Dobbie had outsmarted Ryan Williamson on the byline.
With the impressive Dobbie pulling the strings, Queens dominated the entire first half and it was a ragged looking set of Dunfermline players who trudged towards the dressing room at the interval.
They came out fighting however and the disconsolate home supporters were given a brief glimmer of hope when Nicky Clark fired past Alan Martin early in the second halft.
That proved to be merely the trigger for the Stephen Dobbie show to continue, the Dumfries frontman crushing the Pars resistance with a 16-minute hat-trick.
His first came as the result of defensive uncertainty after Greg Shields and Murdoch had failed to clear a Queens attack and he made it 4-1 from the penalty spot after Morris had fouled Lyndon Dykes.
Declan McManus then pulled one back for Dunfermline, heading home from Williamson’s cross before Dobbie’s last- minute strike completed a miserable day for the home side.
While clearly disappointed at both the outcome and the team’s recent form – the Pars haven’t won a league game since October – club captain Morris clearly feels that the players can turn things round and continue to battle for a play-off place.
“There’s always belief in the dressing room” he said, “the heads aren’t down and everyone wants to fix it.
“The fans were clearly unhappy today but they’ve seen some good football from us early in the season.
“Our form has dipped lately and it’s up to us to put that right, hopefully starting with next week’s game at St Mirren.”
Doonhamers boss Gary Naysmith, speaking on Dunfermline’s official website, claimed it was his side’s best performance during his tenure.
The former East Fife manager said: “When you think away to Dunfermline, arguably a Premiership club, a good squad of players, I think that is probably the best.
“We were different class in the first half, we set the tone from the start of the game.
“We were that far in front you were just worried that we switched off or something.
“Our forward play the whole match was as good as you will see in this league.”