Ross County manager Owen Coyle will accept responsibility for the Staggies’ slump to the bottom of the Premiership but says his players must do likewise.
County’s 2-0 defeat by Partick Thistle at Firhill on Saturday left them three points adrift at the foot of the table going into this month’s winter break.
It will be a long month for the Staggies, who do not return to league action until their trip to Motherwell on January 24.
Coyle, who has already vowed to make changes to his squad during this month’s transfer window, says his players must show recent results have hurt them as much as Staggies chairman Roy MacGregor and the club’s supporters.
Coyle said: “I’ve told the players I will accept whatever flak or criticism comes, because that’s the nature of the job. I’ve got no problem with that. But I will accept that when I know they have left everything on the field. I don’t think enough of them did that on Saturday.
“That’s the bit they have to look at and if they can’t, then we will change it.
“It’s not a particularly nice feeling to end the year and I’m disappointed for the chairman and the fans because I know how much they put their heart and soul into the club.
“I certainly hope the players feel as bad as the chairman and the fans will be, because that’s the all-important bit. I’m not saying they don’t care but they need to go and make sure they see it through and do everything in their power to come out of those tight games with the right result.
“We didn’t do that in the second half, although outwith the mistake I felt we were fine in the first half and I felt we shaded it.
“But the second half certainly wasn’t good enough for what we want to achieve.
“When we’re looking to pick up points, we’ve got to be better than that.”
County skipper Andrew Davies was at fault for Partick’s opening goal on Saturday, with a mishit backpass which allowed Kris Dolan in to score but Coyle backed the 33-year-old to recover from his blunder, adding: “At any given time in a game, you can lose a goal from a mistake.
“That happened on Saturday, and it was a glaring one. It’s not like him. He’s been through two or three niggling injuries and he puts his heart on the line.
“He will feel that as he is a proper captain and he had a horrible day.
“We had a great reaction on Wednesday night in the second half at home to St Johnstone. But it can’t be that you do it in one game and not another.”