Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell has labelled his side’s display against Livingston as soft and said everyone at the club is culpable for the humbling 4-1 defeat.
A rousing win against Hamilton on the opening day of the season was followed by an excellent point on the road at Hearts but a dire showing at home to Livi on Saturday resulted in a heavy defeat for Kettlewell, co-boss Steven Ferguson and their Staggies players.
Kettlewell knows the display was not good enough but insists everyone involved at the Staggies must take collective responsibility.
He said: “It was a huge blow to us, not just the scoreline but the performance.
“We have spoken to the players and said there is no element of the display which was acceptable in terms of what is expected at this club.
“We were short in every aspect from the first minute of the game. We were never at the races. We didn’t defend our penalty area for the first three goals and we take full responsibility for that as staff and the players.
“We knew Livingston would be physical and have a good energy about them but we didn’t deal with it.
“We knew Alan Lithgow would launch long throws into the box and we didn’t deal with it. We were soft.”
The heavy defeat was painful enough but it was the manner of the loss which has come as a shock to the County management.
County simply didn’t see it coming, having gone into the game as the only club in the division yet to concede a goal.
Losing that proud record was hard to swallow but Kettlewell has refused to use the absence of injured players Ross Draper, Lee Erwin, Greig Spence, Don Cowie and Brian Graham as an excuse.
He said: “We’ve not had to deal with this situation since Stevie and I took charge and this is the stark reality of what we will face in the Premiership.
“The scenarios which unfolded were ones which we didn’t cope with at all. It is very frustrating when you have a belief in guys but it was a bad day for us.
“We had one change from what was the starting 11 against Hamilton on the first day of the season and we never came close to reaching those levels.
“We were happy to take all the plaudits which came our way that day so we must accept the criticism which rightfully comes our way.”