Dundee United manager Jim Goodwin admits defensive blunders have very likely cost them their top-flight status after a 3-0 home defeat by Kilmarnock left them needing a football miracle.
Cinch Premiership bottom club United need to beat in-form Motherwell at Fir Park on Sunday and hope Killie beat Ross County and somehow engineer an eight-goal swing along the way.
Goodwin appeared to be masterminding a United revival after being appointed as the club’s third manager of the season on March 1 but they have now lost four matches on the trot.
United gifted Kyle Vassell two first-half goals and never really looked like getting back into the game before substitute Innes Cameron netted late on following a counter-attack.
Goodwin said: “I came in and people thought I was mad, but I genuinely thought I could turn it around and we did get a bounce from the players.
“Unfortunately the defensive frailties reared their head again and ultimately that’s what’s cost us. It’s one of the lowest points in my career.
“We will go to Motherwell on Sunday and give it our best shot. I am one of the biggest optimists out there so I will always try to be positive and believe the impossible can sometimes happen.
“But, of course, it’s an eight-goal swing so we have to go to Motherwell and score a hell of a lot of goals then hope Kilmarnock hammer Ross County. The likelihood of that happening is obviously very slim.
“But at the same time we have to go to Motherwell and play for pride and try to earn back the respect of the fans.
“The fans have every right to show their emotions the way they did at the end.
“There isn’t a player in there who can’t accept their part in it. There are good, talented individuals within the squad.
“But as a team this season simply hasn’t been good enough and I said that to them in the dressing room.
“As managers, myself, Jack Ross and Liam Fox we will take our share of the blame because we are in it together.
“As a team it hasn’t been good enough and the league table doesn’t lie.”
Killie manager Derek McInnes hailed his side after they kept themselves in pole position in the survival race, but they still need at least a point at home to County to avoid a relegation play-off.
McInnes said: “There is still work to do, nobody is over-celebrating or getting ahead of ourselves, but it’s important we enjoy the moment.
“The supporters came up in huge numbers and it’s great to send them home probably feeling a lot more optimistic.
“But we have still got a tough game to navigate, it’s all or nothing. It is set up nicely for both teams and we have a job to do but what pleased me was the performance and our approach to the game.
“We were very confident, we asked the players to play with optimism and belief and we had that. We were aggressive with our work and imposed ourselves on the game and with the position Dundee United were in, getting that first goal was crucial.
“All week I have been getting asked about the pressure and anxiety of players and how we handle that and I thought the players dealt with the game really well.”
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