Ross County co-manager Steven Ferguson says the Staggies must not allow their slackness in Saturday’s 4-1 defeat to Livingston to become a habit.
County were well below par in their humbling loss to Livi, in a display which Ferguson described as “rubbish.”
The result stalled County’s early-season momentum, having taken four points from their opening two matches following their promotion to the Premiership.
Ferguson feels the Staggies can quickly get the disappointment out of their system, but only if lessons are learned.
Ferguson said: “I think this season, unfortunately, is going to be like that at times where we are not going to do what we wanted to be able to do.
“That’s just playing in the Premiership. Teams put you under pressure, they have their own identity and style of playing.
“Livingston’s was to get the ball in the box as early as they can and make us defend our box, and we weren’t able to do that – we have to be honest.
“But Hearts tried to do the same to us a couple of weeks earlier and we did manage to defend against it.
“I feel that is the Premiership. When you are the team that comes up from the Championship, or a provincial club like we are here in Dingwall, there are going to be these highs and lows.
“It was rubbish on Saturday. We need to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We give them Saturday, and we make sure we don’t make the same mistakes again or it does become a problem.”
Ferguson is confident his players can prove the crushing defeat was a one-off, adding: “Saturday was not good enough – we are not burying our head in the sand. We understand we were miles short on Saturday, but we also have to take stock.
“In our first two league games we had two clean sheets, we won the league last year with the best defensive record in the league.
“We don’t suddenly become a team that can’t defend. There was one change in the team that beat Hamilton 3-0, and one change from the team which drew 0-0 at Tynecastle.
“It was the same group of players that have done really well, and they got a real pat on the back and credit for that.
“When it goes the other way, they need to accept it wasn’t good enough and take any sort of criticism that’s coming to us.”
County could face a further blow, with midfielder Ross Draper potentially facing an absence of six weeks due to a recurrence of a knee injury.
Ferguson added: “We don’t know the full extent yet, but Ross has had a major setback regarding the injury he picked up last season.
“We’re waiting on a second opinion. It has been flagged up that he might be out for a number of weeks.”