Manager Stephen Robinson spoke to the broadcast media ahead of the weekend match with Livingston.
Here’s the headlines from what he had to say.
On the mood in the camp
We’ve played seven games and of course it has not been the start we wanted. There are fine lines in football and obviously goals change football matches.
For example, we’re 1-0 up last Saturday at Killie and miss a penalty and when things aren’t going for you, that’s what happens.
Over and above that, we’ve had four or five decisions in the last lot of games that have affected the results. That said, there are a lot of things we can do better.
There’s a positivity around the place because we know we are not far away. We’ve had to change, what with injuries we’ve had to play players out of position and perhaps taken that solidity out our team. We’ve spoke this week about getting that back, the team and the personnel that won a lot of games last season and took us to two cup finals.
Of course it’s frustrating, because I know how close we are, and of course everything is dictated by results. Emotions around the club, the mood of the fans are all dictated by results, but I believe there are positives and we need to ensure we use that to turn in results sooner rather than later.
On the everyone taking collective responsibility for form
We pulled everyone together at the start of the week to make sure we didn’t have a situation where people are walking about feeling sorry for themselves. We also have to give the players a plan on how we turn those little percentages in our favour and into wins.
The biggest thing for me is to get back to keeping clean sheets. Circumstances with the personnel may have impacted that but I feel we are getting closer to putting a team that I think is more recognisable from last season and straight away, that gives everyone a lift.
We’ve also got a bunch of boys who are very conscientious. They know when they’ve played well but they also know when they can do better. What I can never question is their work rate or their commitment to this football club and with that mindset our luck will change.
We need to keep working hard and that was reiterated to everyone, including the staff.
On the level of training despite difficult run of form
We’ve got strong characters. People were constantly saying last season that we had a good dressing room.
It’s this season where that will be tested as it’s easy when you’re winning football matches and getting to cup finals. Now you see who the characters are, you see who the strong boys are and I think the vast majority of them in that dressing room are.
We expect criticism but and can deal with it, we batten down the hatches and make sure you stick together and that’s very much been the talk around the place.
From the 11 on the pitch, the subs and the boys not involved, there’s never a complaint from them, the train hard and we prepare meticulously for every match.
On the temptation to ‘change it up’ versus the need for perseverance
If I am honest, due to injuries and available personnel, we probably did try and change it up. Because we didn’t have that electric pace of either Kipré or Dunne, we perhaps had to take that extra pass which maybe slowed our tempo down a little bit, which for the vast majority of our players, it doesn’t suit.
I feel the Hearts game and 35 or 40 minutes of the Kilmarnock match that we got back to that level of intensity, back to being in people’s faces and back to putting balls into an area of the pitch that can hurt people. I know what works for the vast majority of our squad, but we have had to try and change things slightly.
As I said earlier, I think we’re close to getting the personnel back into the right positions that will hopefully start affecting results.
On whether Livingston have surprised everyone with their early-season form
I think many may have been surprised, but they’re not embarrassed about their style and why should they be? They’re getting results. I hear everyone say that you’ve got to play a certain way.
You play to the strengths of your squad and the level your budget allows you to do. Livingston have done that and credit to them.
After we beat them in the Betfred Cup, our boys came off and said it was one of the hardest games they had played in, because they have a never-say-die attitude which they’ve carried on from last season. We have to match that and we will match that and it’s very much a game I am looking forward to.
On taking confidence from that cup win earlier in the season
We obviously played them and won, but I am not sure how relevant that will be. It’s a cup competition, a one-off game whereas they’ll probably go into this game as favourites given where they sit in the table and their start.
It’ll be tough, but first and foremost, we have to match their desire and their energy, then we can get the ball down in play, in that order.
Perhaps we’ve tried to do that slightly different because of the injuries and who we’ve had available to us. Now people are returning, now we can get players back into their strong position, I want us to get back to that.
On team news
We’re hopeful both Andy Rose and Peter Hartley will be available for selection. Charles Dunne has started light jogging in training, that’s a huge boost for everyone around the place.
Craig Tanner had a setback, but he’s on the road to recovery, so we’re getting people back and hopefully we can start turning the corner.