Csaba Laszlo, the Dundee United manager, pleaded for time as his new-look side suffered a shock result at the hands of Arbroath, who claimed a bonus point following their penalty shoot-out success.
Laszlo watched his much-changed outfit struggle for sustained spells with their League One visitors defeating them 5-3 in a penalty shoot-out after Bobby Linn’s 82nd minute penalty had cancelled out Nicky Clark’s 77th minute opener for United at Tannadice.
Linn hit the winning penalty for the visitors while Ricky Little, Michael McKenna, Ryan Wallace and Mark Whatley all converted from the spot, but United youngster Logan Chalmers had his effort saved by Arbroath keeper Darren Jamieson after Stewart Murdoch, Fraser Aird and Paul McMullan had all hit the target.
“We do need a bit of time,” reflected Laszlo afterwards. “It’s quite a new team and we are still finding how each other plays. It won’t happen just like that but it’s still disappointing to lose this way.
“Yet, we have a game at Ross County now on Tuesday where we can make up for this. The boys know they have to improve and I’m sure we will as the weeks go by.”
Championship hopefuls United featured six of their new summer signings but it was Dick Campbell’s Lichties who ought to have taken the lead in just five minutes.
United kid Declan Glass fouled David Gold, but Wallace drilled his penalty wide of Benjamin Siegrist’s post.
Midway through the first-half, United threatened when Jamie Robson’s deep cross from the left was met by McMullan whose volley flashed just over Jamieson’s bar.
Just prior to half-time, Wallace’s corner was met by Colin Hamilton whose close-ranger header went just inches wide of the target.
United began the second-half much brighter and Frederic Frans wasn’t far away with his 50th minute header from Nicky Clark’s cross, before Aird hit a long-distance effort just over the top.
Clark then struck his first goal in a Tangerine jersey with just 13 minutes remaining. Aird’s cross was flicked on by McMullan and former Dunfermline man Clark was on hand to beat Jamieson from inside the six-yard box.
However, the Angus outfit hit back in 82 minutes after sub Kane Hester was taken down by Christoph Rabitsch, and up stepped Linn to force the penalty shoot-out which they won to earn a bonus point.
Arbroath assistant boss Iain Campbell said: “All credit to the lads for such a great effort.”