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Furious Steven MacLean apologised to St Johnstone’s supporters after the cinch Premiership side began their competitive campaign with a dismal 1-0 defeat against League Two opponents Stenhousemuir in the Viaplay Cup group stage.

Euan O’Reilly struck the only goal for the fourth-tier outfit early in the second half after a slack pass from Saints defender Liam Gordon was intercepted.

MacLean was livid with his team’s display.

“I had a rant in there at them and they know where I stand with them,” he told Saints TV. “We can still win the group if we win our three games, but that performance today isn’t acceptable.

“We need to be better than that. I’m really disappointed for the fans. I take responsibility for my team and all I can do is apologise to the supporters and hopefully put it right next week.

“It was poor all-round. We didn’t move the ball quick enough and didn’t create enough pressure.

“It was an unacceptable performance. I take responsibility. It’s my team and I put the team on the pitch. I’m not pleased but we’ve got to move on and try and get better.”

MacLean was disappointed with Saints’ approach in the final third.

“Liam held his hands up, he tried to hit Graham (Carey) with a diagonal,” said the manager, reflecting on the Stenhousemuir goal. “He made a poor pass and they’ve countered on us and scored, but Liam’s big enough to know he made a mistake.

“I still felt we should have scored two or three goals but we didn’t put our bodies on the line to get on the end of things and that final pass at times was lacking.”