Sometimes brevity is all that’s needed. “We were f***ing sh**e”, exclaimed crestfallen Dundee United defender Tam Scobbie.
The near-capacity travelling support at Falkirk would have used just as colourful language as they headed for the exit doors long before Lewis Kidd rammed home the sixth in the chastening 6-1 defeat.
It was an afternoon that started brightly for Csaba Laszlo’s Championship title hopefuls, Billy King opening the scoring after just six minutes.
However, against a team that had only amassed two league victories from 18 games prior to Saturday – an underwhelming run of form that had left the Bairns in the relegation zone – United capitulated under an incessant blitz from Paul Hartley’s side.
The visitors can point to the recent loss of midfielders Fraser Fyvie and Scott Fraser to injury as mitigating factors, but there was an alarming lack of fight to prevent such a heavy defeat.
“The chances we gave them aren’t acceptable at a club like Dundee United,” noted ex-Falkirk player Scobbie, pictured right. “Everyone in the dressing room knows that.
“We had a long discussion after the game and we will have a more thorough discussion during the week. The manager said we looked like we crumbled, which we did.
“Let’s not beat about the bush, we were f***ing sh**e, and you can quote me on that.
“Every man who took part never performed to their ability. Hopefully, it’s a blip and one of those freak results.
“At times like this we have to stick together and work hard, but we let ourselves down massively by not being strong, or even at 2-1 or 3-1 saying, ‘listen we are not conceding any more’. All of us will need to look at ourselves and say that’s not acceptable.
“Everyone is disgusted with the way we played in front of a massive travelling crowd. We saw the crowd leaving early and we totally accept that because of the way we performed. We totally accept that. We can only apologise to the fans.”
United manager Laszlo is worried the defeat will crush the progress he has made at the club since replacing Ray McKinnon. “We didn’t lose just three points – we lost everything we have built up until now,” he explained. “This was a performance against the fans, the board, the chairman – everybody! I’m sorry. We have to feel the shame.”
There were warning signs even before King opened the scoring. Just seconds earlier, Craig Sibbald glided past the United midfield before drilling a low drive off the post. King then raced on to James Keatings’ pass to round goalkeeper Robbie Thomson and score.
United soon disintegrated. Peter Grant headed in Louis Longridge’s corner in the 22nd minute before Reghan Tumilty converted Kidd’s pass from close range four minutes shy of the break.
Longridge notched the first of his double with a rasping drive from the edge of the area in the 57th minute before left wing-back Tommy Robson rifled an effort high into the net eight minutes later.
Former Hamilton forward Longridge curled in a fifth in the 73rd minute, before Kidd rounded off the scoring for the home side in the final seconds when he forced in Sibbald’s cut back.
The victory has given Falkirk renewed hope of pushing clear of the relegation play-off zone after closing the gap on Dumbarton to three points.
Goalscorer Kidd admits the emphatic win was pay back after accusing United of show-boating in their 3-0 defeat at Tannadice in November.
He said: “It was a good win especially after they beat us at Tannadice. They didn’t brag but it was almost as if they were taking the mickey.
“Late on in the game at Tannadice, they knew they were winning and they wanted to show off to their fans to prove they are a better team than us.
“But on Saturday in front of everyone, we proved we can match them and beat them comfortably.”