Willo Flood last night slammed day-dreaming Dundee United players for costing manager Ray McKinnon his job – by believing they would simply cruise to the Championship title.
Flood labelled United’s abject Inverness performance “embarrassing” as they slumped 2-0 to John Robertson’s visitors which was the final straw for McKinnon.
The 47-year-old boss took over the reins in the summer of 2016 and agonisingly missed out on promotion back to the Premiership via the play-offs last season. On Saturday, the toiling Tangerines slipped to their second consecutive 2-0 league defeat to make a mockery of their overwhelming favourites’ tag before a ball was even kicked back in the summer.
Irishman Flood, who is in his fourth spell with United, is a big fan of McKinnon and reckons the players are to blame for their manager’s exit from Tannadice.
He said: “I think the boys maybe thought Dundee United were going to dominate games this season and it was going to be easy. But it’s not going to be like that. When you lose one or two games in this division, it’s magnified because a club this size is in the Championship.
“I’ve been on many a bad run with Dundee United in the Premiership when we’ve lost to Rangers, Celtic and maybe Hearts. And because you’re losing to big teams people don’t really go on about it.
“This season is magnified, though, because we’re losing against teams in the Championship, which isn’t good enough for this club. The Dumbarton game coming up is now massive. We need to get this club back to having a heart. That was the biggest thing for me which we lacked against Inverness. We need to get that going when we go to Dumbarton.
“The manager is Dundee United through and through. He’s a top fella and gives everything.”
United had no stomach for the fight once Iain Vigurs had given Caley Thistle a 28th-minute lead on Tayside which was added to by Connor Bell’s 37th minute clincher. Flood, 32, insisted it was no excuse to cite lack of confidence for their feeble fighting spirit at the weekend which prompted a tidal wave of criticism from their seething supporters on the final whistle.
Flood said: “You just see a team low in confidence. For me, though, I don’t care about people lacking confidence,
“You still have to run about, give it your all and make tackles. We didn’t do that against Inverness. It was embarrassing really.
“The manager prepares us well all week and we go out there and let him down which is the biggest disappointment.
“The reaction from the Livingston game which we’d lost 2-0 the week before just didn’t happen. For the first 20 minutes we were on top but we didn’t score and then we give away a poor goal which involved myself, although it took a deflection as well and it ends up in the net.
“Then they score again which leaves us with a mountain to climb. It looks like the lack of confidence is becoming a problem. But the only way to get through that is by working hard, being a good team-mate and helping each other out, then getting back to clean sheets.
“As you go along, hopefully results change. I’ve been in this game long enough to know how quickly things can change.”