Despite a 3-0 defeat at home to Hearts in his second match in charge of Dundee, Jim McIntyre insists that things will get better even if there is more pain to come.
League leaders Hearts ran out comfortable winners at Dens to go six points clear of second place Celtic. Hearts opened the scoring through an Oliver Bozanic free-kick after just two minutes of the first half before Steven Naismith doubled their advantage with 14 minutes played.
Despite the poor start to the game, McIntyre felt that the players showed character but equally that things need to improve.
“To be honest when you start the games the way we started, again it is just a needless free-kick to give away,” he said after the match.
“Hearts have shown their quality by a brilliant free-kick punishing us, but we need to give ourselves a hand.
“They showed plenty character, the players, at 2-0 down and the way it has been going recently it would be easier to feel sorry for yourselves and just collapse but we never.
“We had a real go at it in that first half and created some good opportunities for ourselves.
“So that is the positives to take but we need to eradicate self-destructing because there’s a bit of that and there might be a bit of pain before it gets better but it will get better that’s for sure.”
Calvin Miller, on loan from Celtic, had the chance to level things up at 1-0 from the penalty spot after Benjamin Kallman was taken down in the box, however Miller dragged his shot well wide of the right-hand post. In many ways the missed penalty encapsulates the recent fortunes of a Dundee side who have lost nine out of their opening 10 league matches this season.
“Hearts are a good side, but you can’t stand off teams,” said McIntyre.
“You have got to make sure you’re taking the game to them as well when you have your opportunity.
“I felt we done that on a number of occasions and drove Hearts back and we’ve created opportunities.
“When you get those opportunities you’ve got to put them away because then that lifts the belief to that next level to go again.
“But unfortunately, we couldn’t tuck away any of the opportunities.
“Obviously, the penalty is the biggest chance and we’ve got a great chance with the header as well.
“We should do better with that as well, but the pleasing thing is that we didn’t crumble and feel sorry for ourselves.
Steven MacLean took just 21 seconds of the second half to make it 3-0 to Hearts with a sliding tap-in inside the six-yard box after the Dundee defence lost possession. Naturally, the poor start to the second half frustrated McIntyre.
“You come out the second half and you’re looking to go and get the next goal,” he said.
“The next goal is so important and unfortunately for us we’ve made another mistake.
“Take a poor touch in the wider area, we don’t clear it and then Hearts cut us open.
“So, from then on it is damage limitation and you’re trying to get yourself back in the game and at least get a goal for their night’s work but as I say there is a lot of hard work ahead.”
The hard work continues for Dundee next Wednesday night as they take on Celtic at Dens Park.