Furious new boss Jim Goodwin has warned struggling Aberdeen they were ‘nowhere near the level’ he will demand.
Goodwin insists he made that clear to his players in the dressing room at Tynecastle after a 2-0 loss at Hearts.
The defeat saw the Reds crash to a lowly 10th in the Premiership table.
Goodwin says it is time everyone at the club takes accountability for the Dons’ dire form throughout the season.
He said a ‘good man’, former manager Stephen Glass, lost his job due to that form, having been axed last month.
Aberdeen have not won a Premiership game since Boxing Day last year – despite nine attempts.
However, Goodwin refused to ‘throw his players under the bus’ for the loss in Edinburgh and insists it was also his team, tactics and game plan.
He said: “That was nowhere near the levels required.
“I’m really, really disappointed.
“I’m not saying anything here that I haven’t said to the players in the dressing room.
“Hearts were better in every department.
“We never really got any rhythm in the game and kept turning over cheap possession.
“Any time it went forward it kept coming back.
“We made Hearts look a very good team because we didn’t get close enough to them
“We didn’t show enough aggression or energy.
“That’s something that we will have to take responsibility for.”
Aberdeen winger Matty Kennedy was taken off early in the second half with a back problem.
Left-back Jonny Hayes was also substituted having suffered a head knock.
Third-placed Hearts netted either side of half-time through John Souttar and Stephen Kingsley.
The Dons were awarded a penalty in the second half when 2-0 down, but Lewis Ferguson’s spot-kick was saved by Hearts keeper Craig Gordon.
It was the first spot-kick missed by the Reds this season.
Goodwin said: “I wouldn’t be here if the results and the performances previously were good enough.
“A good man, Stephen Glass, has lost his job because of what went on.
“There comes a point where everyone needs to take a bit of accountability.
“I include myself in that.
“I’m not trying to throw anyone under the bus at all.
“It was my team out there, my tactics and my game plan.
“We all need to accept what happened.
“I’m not trying to say we are in crisis mode or anything like that. But we need to do the basics better.”
Hearts boss says Ferguson dived – but Goodwin defends player
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson hit out at Lewis Ferguson, accusing the Aberdeen midfielder of diving to win the penalty.
Neilson said: “It’s a dive. I’ve seen it already. At the time I thought it was.
“I don’t blame the referee.
“The player has tried to con him and managed to do that.
“It’s just disappointing. I’d like to think the compliance officer will have a good look at it.”
Goodwin backed his midfielder, insisting Ferguson is not a ‘diver’.
The Dons boss said: “If Robbie has made those comments I’m quite disappointed.
“Lewis is not a diver.
“There was contact, he went over and Steven McLean (referee) awarded a penalty. So be it.
“I think Robbie should focus on the positives of his own team.”