John Robertson offered an apology to Caley Thistle supporters after they watched their side turn in a dismal performance in a 3-0 defeat by the Red Lichties.
The Caley Jags were well-beaten at Gayfield and Robertson admitted as much as the hangover from the Dundee United defeat continued in woeful fashion.
Robertson said: “I don’t want to detract anything from Arbroath as they were worthy winners. But that’s not acceptable. If you’re going to wear an Inverness jersey that’s unacceptable. I can only apologise to the fans that came down because that simply isn’t good enough.
“We said to the players that we’ll go back to basics. We’ll show them how to defend as a unit and attack as a unit.
“At the moment we seem to have gone into a place where the defenders are doing their own thing, the midfielders are doing their own thing, the forwards are doing their own thing.
“We could have had a penalty but that would have been papering over the cracks. We got exactly what we deserved and that was nothing.”
One of those coming into the side, Tom Walsh was the focus of much of Caley Thistle’s early attacks, with Arbroath left-back Colin Hamilton tucking in and giving Walsh space to exploit. But his options to hit in the box were limited.
The hosts were employing a similar tactic with Bobby Linn against Brad McKay, with the Inverness defender content to back off and allow his man to advance into more dangerous crossing positions.
Scott Stewart, on the opposite flank, played narrow and from such a position he put Arbroath in front.
Liam Donnelly, Linn and Mark Whatley all played a part in the build-up, hitting Stewart on the far side of the area and his finish was on point, beating Ridgers at the far post.
Caley Thistle’s play was predictable and dealt with by Arbroath. The midfield was bypassed in favour of Coll Donaldson and Jamie McCart aiming balls in at Nikolay Todorov or to the advancing wide players. Todorov’s hold-up play is not at the level of Jordan White and the ball would not stick, allowing the home defence simple opportunities to clear.
They have been prone to individual errors but McKay’s decision to clamber on top of Hamilton from a free-kick was daft. Arbroath were deservedly awarded a penalty and Linn punished Caley Thistle further from 12 yards. A team that has talked often enough about wanting to get promoted looks far from it just now.
Robertson’s side looked soft, showing far less urgency than their counterparts and looking bereft of ideas. Todorov was ineffectual, Miles Storey anonymous and James Keatings offered little.
Walsh was one of the few to emerge with credit as he at times took up the baton single-handedly.
Inverness’ play at the back was erratic and reliant on good fortune. McKay struggled all afternoon with Linn and Donaldson was constantly walking the proverbial disciplinary tightrope.
When Carl Tremarco was beaten to a bouncing ball by Stewart and he managed to play in Liam Donnelly, only the striker’s dallying allowed them to recover.
Arbroath remained disciplined and resolute as the travelling Inverness supporters grew more frustrated with their team.
By the end, ironic chants of “long ball” were aired as Inverness tried listlessly for a consolation. It was Arbroath who finished off the scoring, Omar Kader hammering in a third and condemning Inverness to a woeful defeat.
Robertson added: “It’s a recurring theme and it has been for the last four or five matches. We’ve said to the players that we have to be clinical in both boxes. We’ve had enough chances.
“Every time Arbroath broke in the last 15 minutes they looked like they were going to score. That’s the chat we had – we work on a style on a play and tactics. We don’t set them just to charge up the park.
“We’re not clinical in both boxes. We’re missing chances at one end and we’re giving away too many at the other.”