Dundee United head coach Liam Fox signalled he was set for a period of self-reflection after his side’s predicament at the foot of the cinch Premiership worsened with a 4-0 defeat by Ross County.
United lost by seven and nine goals under Jack Ross early in the season but their afternoon in Dingwall provided a similar low as they were well beaten by the team directly above them in the table.
A sixth consecutive loss leaves United four points adrift and the supporters again called for Fox and sporting director Tony Asghar to leave the club.
Fox handed Jack Newman a start in goal with Mark Birighitti on the bench following his costly blunder against St Johnstone but the inexperienced goalkeeper was in no man’s land when Eamonn Brophy opened the scoring after Charlie Mulgrew’s attempted clearance came back off fellow centre-back Ryan Edwards.
The sixth-minute opener set the tone for a miserable afternoon for United. Brophy hit the post and set up goals for both Yan Dhanda and Jordan White before rounding off the scoring with his second goal.
County were also twice denied goals by VAR decisions to leave Fox to describe the performance as “absolutely unacceptable”.
“We lost the first goal and then never, ever looked like getting back in the game,” he added.
“We didn’t compete, didn’t run about enough and, in any game of football, if you don’t compete and don’t run about enough, you run the risk of results like that.
“It’s very difficult to explain but I believe the work I’ve done with the players over a period of time has been consistent and very clear. What is hugely disappointing is that we’ve come away with a performance like that.”
Fox admitted the angry reaction from supporters was inevitable.
“It’s very difficult for me to put up a defence when we perform like that,” he said. “The supporters travelled up in their numbers and one of the biggest disappointments for me was the performance we put on.
“We are letting everybody down and we need to find a way to fix it.
“I could tell you that doesn’t help the players but when the players put on a performance like that? You’d expect it. It’s a really sore one.
“Everybody is going to have to go home and look at themselves in the mirror and ask if they are doing enough — and we’ll see where we are over the next couple of days.”
Asked whether he feels confident that he will be trusted with arresting the decline, Fox added: “We’ll see where we are over the next couple of days.”
County manager Malky Mackay praised his side for their display.
“I’m delighted with the performance and result, and the way we started,” he said. “Also the way we started the second half because 2-0 is a dangerous scoreline.
“They changed to two up front in the second half and I thought we started the second half again in the same fashion, which allowed us to continue the constant pressure from the first half and add to the goals.
“We could have got more, but it’s an eight-goal swing between ourselves and United, which is important. And it’s a clean sheet.”