For a Premiership side to lose once against part-time League 1 opposition in a Betfred Cup group campaign could be considered unfortunate – to lose twice though is nothing short of embarrassing.
However, despite the agony in Angus against Montrose nearly two weeks ago and Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Forfar, Liam Craig insists Saints will ultimately be fine this season as long as they get back to basics.
And that all starts as the Premiership campaign kicks off with a daunting trip to face champions Celtic at Parkhead on Saturday.
When asked if he had a message for St Johnstone fans following the desperately-disappointing result at Station Park, Craig said: “We have been in worst positions.
“Last year we were beaten 6-0 by Celtic at home and then went eight games without conceding a goal.
“Look, it is a week before the start of the season and obviously the club are working on bringing people in.
“But whether they do or not, the boys who are here have to step up to the mark.
“We have a league season ahead of us that we are looking forward to.
“It is going to be difficult but it is difficult every season.
“It is just about doing the simple things well, defending properly and being ruthless in both boxes.
“If we put that right, we will be fine.”
Craig admitted that manager Tommy Wright was far from happy as he hauled the team over the coals in the away dressing-room after the Forfar game, saying: “Yes and rightly so. That’s the second time in 10 days we have lost to lower league opposition, two teams in League 1.
“We should be coming here and doing better. Getting beat is one thing but the manner in which we were beaten was not good enough.
“We didn’t create enough and we weren’t working hard enough. We got what we deserved in the end.”
The young-looking Saints side got off to the worst possible start, conceding a goal inside two minutes as indecision in defence allowed Forfar’s Callum Tapping to steal in to bundle home at the far post.
Wright’s men struggled to recover from that early setback with the Loons extending their lead in the 52nd minute with a cracking 30-yard free-kick from Ross Forbes.
Saints did pull one back 13 minutes later through Matty Kennedy but Forfar held on for a richly-deserved victory.
The St Johnstone squad is stretched at the moment with midfielder Craig forced to play the second 45 at left-back following the withdrawal of Scott Tanser but he insisted there can be no excuses for the defeat.
Craig said: “Listen, we need bodies in. Me playing left-back doesn’t affect that – I have played there before in my career.
“But no matter where you play, you have to work hard, you have to do the simple things well and we haven’t done that in the last two away games.
“It is something we need to put right.
“In the two home games, we were miles on top against Brechin and even against Ross County there were a lot of positives to take. They were in our box twice and scored two goals but we should have been three or four up before they did that.
“So it’s not panic stations in that regard but our away form . . . there is maybe a wee bit of softness there.
“We have lost a lot of experience, big characters in the team but it is up to the senior players and the younger ones coming through, everyone.
“The younger ones need to step up and the senior ones have to help them do that.
“It doesn’t come much harder than Celtic next week but it is a game we are looking forward to and we will be ready for it.
“We have gone there and won in the past. We have to work hard in training this week knowing that we have a tough game and season ahead of us.”