YOU have to wonder how long Rab Douglas can keep this up.
The Dundee goalkeeper has not hidden from the inefficient performances, the dropped points and the sloppy goals that have sucked all the fun out of his side's return to the Clydesdale Bank Premier League but his enduring refrain will eventually start to lose its impact.
He was left to cover familiar ground yesterday. Douglas was being asked about a trip to face St Johnstone but instead spent most of his time talking about a recent defeat, this time against Aberdeen. The performance from his side had been "unacceptable" and was not good enough even for the first division. If the Dens Park side aren't careful they will soon get the chance to find out whether or not that is true.
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They remain rooted to the bottom of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, nine points adrift of Ross County. There had been signs of improvement in the run up to the festive fixtures but they have since disappeared behind a shroud of individual errors, a slump which has caused angst ahead of their first-foot against St Johnstone.
"We didn't see [the performance against Aberdeen] coming," said Douglas, whose side could have Steven Milne back in Perth. "The boys were up for it before the game and it was a massive disappointment. Now we owe it to the manager, the backroom staff, fans and ourselves to do better.
"It was unacceptable on Saturday. That's the only way to put it. You could maybe get away with a performance like that in the first division . . . no, in fact, you would even be lucky to get away with that there, to be honest. We can't afford to put in another display like that.
"The boys have been told that but we knew it ourselves as well. We have to go down to Perth and do everyone a turn on the park rather than just talk about it in the dressing room. We are looking for a reaction and the great thing is we don't have to wait a week, with only a few days between the games. That Aberdeen game and the one against St Johnstone here are probably the ones where we have really let the manager and the fans down so we have to do something about it."
He is not the only one looking for a positive response to a slump in form. St Johnstone have registered only half a dozen draws in their last nine matches and Gregory Tade is aware that their top-six push could founder as a result.
"I don't think we are where we should be in the league," said the St Johnstone striker. "We showed how we could match a team like Inverness who are having a great season. We kept them very quiet for 90 minutes [on Saturday].
"We are a very good team. We are just going through a rough patch trying to turn draws into wins. Myself and my colleagues have to put away the chances. We know that is necessary."