No anger, no bitterness, merely an acceptance that it was too far gone.

Jim Goodwin has had five weeks to stew on what happened in that final week at Pittodrie, not a great deal of time to make peace with it all. Looking back now, it’s surreal that the ill-fated end of his tenure managed to pack so much drama into just 10 days.

Beaten 5-0 at Hearts, then humiliated in the Scottish Cup at Darvel – it felt cruel that Goodwin was allowed to cling on long enough to take a 6-0 battering at Hibs before Dave Cormack finally decided enough was enough. But, appearing for the first time in Dundee United colours, you get the slight sense Goodwin wants to emphasise the fact that – no matter how irretrievable the situation became – it was only a week.

It’s understandable: when things go so pear-shaped so quickly, managers can find themselves being defined by what is essentially the blink of an eye in career terms. The raw emotion appears to have subsided for the 41-year-old, but he still struggles to pinpoint exactly what tipped his tenure into turmoil.

“I absolutely loved my time at Aberdeen,” Goodwin insisted. “I’ve left with no bitterness towards anybody at the club, I met some great people during that 12 months.

“We had a brilliant first half of the season. Maybe brilliant is a little bit over the top but it was a very good first half of the season.

“Prior to the World Cup, we were sitting third in the table with a cup semi-final to look forward to. We came back after the World Cup and we just never got going.

“It’s hard to put your finger on why that happened. I could sit here and talk about individual results and performances – against Celtic we were three minutes away from taking a point, against Rangers we lost two late goals in the 95th and 97th minute.

“If we’d taken four points from those two games, I don’t think I’d be sitting here, quite frankly. That knocked the confidence of the players.

“I had a terrible week as Aberdeen manager. The last week prior to losing my job was a disaster, there’s no hiding from that.

“There’s plenty learnings I’ve taken from it and hopefully we can put that into practice in the remaining 12 games for United.”

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Goodwin walking a lonely path across the Easter Road pitch mere minutes after being sacked quickly became the enduring image of his tenure. It fed into the narrative that he had found himself isolated at Pittodrie well before the end; that, despite the club’s proclamations to the contrary, his players were no longer in the fight with him.

But Goodwin himself believes it was all a bit overblown.

“There was a lot said about walking across the pitch at Easter Road but unfortunately that is where my car was parked,” he said. “Some of the videos I have been sent have been dramatised and it looks like something from a Hollywood movie. But I can assure you, I was looking for the quickest route to my car! The steward pointed me in that direction and that was the way I went. 

“Of course, there was a lot of hurt and disappointment but there wasn’t a lot of anger. I have no ill-feeling towards Dave Cormack and Steven Gunn. I have taken responsibility for what happened.

“For whatever reason, for the last couple of weeks I couldn’t get the boys going again. I still believed they were with me. A number of senior players had spoken to board members and assure them they were still behind me and believed in me. 

“But sometimes in football you just can’t turn it around and that appeared to be the case at that particular time. We had an extremely difficult run of games. Take the cup game out of it, we were at Tynecastle and Easter Road - two difficult fixtures anyway. 

“To lose those games in the manner we did was the hardest thing for me because I’m not used to losing games in that fashion.”

The word that springs to mind in Dundee United appointing Goodwin is ‘gamble’. A gamble for the Premiership’s bottom side, cut adrift by four points, to appoint a manager whose inability to remedy Aberdeen’s defensive frailty ultimately cost him his job. And for Goodwin, too, to bet what was once a burgeoning reputation on a 12-game salvage mission with a club which has already burned through two managers this season.

But the Northern Irishman, previously lauded for good work at Alloa Athletic and St Mirren, does not see it that way.

“People can look on it as a gamble,” he said. “I just had a look around the squad that was there and the quality of the players available and for whatever reason things haven’t panned out the way people connected to United would have liked but I still think there is plenty of time to turn it around. Through messages I know people think I am off my head for coming into a job in this situation where we are four points adrift at the bottom of the table but I believe in the group.

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“I said that to them this morning. From what reaction and interaction I have had with them over the last 24 hours I think they are all honest enough to admit they have underachieved as a group and they are all determined to put things right.

“I don’t think the recruitment has been terrible, to be honest. There are a lot of really good talented players here.

“It’s important at any club to get the balance right with good experience and good quality mid 20-players and young ones coming through from the academy. This club has everything correct in that department but there’s been a lot of disruption.

“I’m the third manager of the season and that can have a huge impact on the players. Stability is really important for players. They can often be fragile and I don’t think disruption helps in any environment.

“It doesn’t matter what job you are in. If a different manager comes in every four or five months with a different message it can be unsettling.

‘But we had a good chat with the players this morning and I believe there’s plenty of time to turn it around. But talk is cheap.

“There’s a lot of good individuals in the group but individuals aren’t going to get us the points needed to stay up. We’ve got to come together as a team and it’s a collective effort from the staff and the players. If we do that consistently then we have a fighting chance.”