It was a familiar story for the 3,000-plus fans who followed Heart of Midlothian to Dens Park on Sunday afternoon. An away performance which was lacking in steel, personality, direction, vigor and verve. But more than that, the meek 1-0 loss to Dundee was perhaps another example of a bigger concern domestically, winning just three of their last 14 league games spread across the past two seasons.

The manner of the defeat is one which didn't sit too well with the travelling support, the club's technical director Steven Naismith and captain Lawrence Shankland. It was summed up by the concession of the winning goal. Poor decision making leading to Luke McCowan clipping a shot over Zander Clark.

“Overall it wasn't a good performance at all," Shankland said. "Naivety probably sums it up in the end. At the start of the second half the momentum was totally with us, we created a couple of openings and looked like the team more likely to score – but then we give them that goal out of nothing.

“We’ve discussed it loads of times before, it’s just naivety. Obviously young Aidan Denholm makes a mistake, but there are three senior pros around him who could have told him just to go long. We weren't playing at our best as everyone could see and we go and give a goal away. It’s so frustrating.

"It's just throwing away points. If you come up here, don't play well but leave with a point, you'd say fair enough. We need to become a team where if you don't play well you don't lose. But too many times last season and again now, especially on the road, when we don’t play well we lose."

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For the third Premiership game in a row, Hearts offered little in an attacking sense in the first 45 minutes, registering just one effort. The Thursday-Sunday schedule cannot be used as an excuse with the experience of last season and the number of changes the team are able to make.

"It can happen, you can start games badly," Shankland said. "It's where you go from there, you try to build and improve. I think it took us until half-time to do that.

“There shouldn’t have been a hangover from the PAOK game on Thursday, we rotated the squad enough that no one should be tired. It's just that the performance wasn’t up to scratch in terms of the technical play that we tried to do.

"Players who come in need to be ready to put in a performance and win games. Maybe that is finding the balance, there are a lot of new boys and you are trying not to be too harsh and give them time. For us who have been here long enough and played in the game long enough know that is below the standards. We need to be winning those games."

He added: “They shouldn't be [thinking of Europe] because there’s no guarantee that you are going to play. You need to go out and try to show it at the weekend. What we can never forget is that league games like these are our bread and butter."