Callum Davidson is confident a revamped St Johnstone will save their Premiership status in 2022.
The Perth side signed off the calendar year with their eighth defeat in a row, losing 3-1 to Celtic.
But the Saints boss believes a combination of new recruits and old habits will see them raise standards after the mid-campaign break.
“I hope so or I won’t be standing here talking to you!” said Davidson.
“Listen, I definitely believe so.
“With the addition of a few quality players, a bit more luck, and more quality, I firmly believe we’ll start playing a lot better.
“The basics is the biggest thing. We did that really well last season and had fantastic success.
“The players have to be better at it or they won’t play. Simple.”
A Liel Abada first half double was the worst possible start for Saints.
Chris Kane pulled a goal back after the break but Nir Bitton’s late strike quashed the chance of a dramatic comeback.
“We gave away a goal easily in the first 10 minutes after giving them possession and that was us chasing the game,” said Davidson.
“All three goals we made it far too easy for them.
“We talked about discipline and shape and for the second goal we jumped out of our shape and they got past us with two passes.
“When you do that against a team like Celtic you’re always going to find it hard.
“We allowed them too much room and played some really sloppy passes.
“If you look at the goals back, that’s not good enough.
“You need to make Celtic work harder to score. That was the biggest disappointment.”
Better second half
Davidson added: “Second half we worked hard off our shape, got back into the game and scored a great goal.
🗣 "A proper No 9's header!"
A lovely ball into the box from Viv Solomon-Otabor and Chris Kane is there to head past #CelticFC goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas.
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) December 26, 2021
“Then Chris Kane got injured and had to hobble about for 10 minutes which made it an uphill struggle.
“Stevie May and Craig Bryson both had to come off injured as well.”
With the break now starting, off-field transfer business becomes the priority.
“It’s going to be a busy couple of weeks,” said Davidson.
“I said to the players in there that some of you need to go and have a look at yourselves.
“We have to find a way of bringing in some players with quality to, with players who we have here, start getting us out of this mess.”