Jim Goodwin is adamant his new-look Dundee United team will bounce back from their dire start to the season.
The Tannadice side, in the process of a rebuild after suffering relegation from the cinch Premiership last term, featured five debutants as they lost 1-0 away to newly-promoted League Two outfit Spartans in their opening Viaplay Cup group match on Saturday.
United were heavily criticised by furious supporters at full-time and although Goodwin understands the anger, he remains optimistic his team can enjoy a fruitful campaign.
“It’s very early days,” he told United TV. “It’s the first competitive game for Dundee United for a lot of those players.
“It’s the first time the backline and the goalkeeper have played together. We’re at the beginning of a project that is only going to get better as time goes.
“But ultimately we’re extremely disappointed to lose the game and we can understand the fans’ frustration at the end of the game.
“We’ve got some very good, talented players within the group. It’s the first competitive game of the season, the team have only been back training for four weeks and we’ve got five new faces in there who are all still trying to get an understanding of each other.”
United return to action at home to Partick Thistle on Tuesday before facing Peterhead and Falkirk in their other Group B matches.
“It’s a very disappointing start to the campaign, we wanted to start on a more positive note, but the beauty of this competition is that you can sometimes afford one poor result as long as you win the next three,” said Goodwin.
“Nine points is sometimes enough to win the group in this competition and sometimes it can get you through as one of the better runners-up.
“The boys will be raring to go on Tuesday. They’re all extremely disappointed because they didn’t want that to be their first performance of the season in front of a brilliant travelling support.”
United were not the only big club to suffer an ignominious start in the Viaplay Cup. Premiership pair St Mirren and St Johnstone both lost 1-0 away to League One Montrose and League Two Stenhousemuir respectively.
St Johnstone’s Ryan McGowan admitted his side had completely punctured any pre-season optimism building among their supporters.
“I don’t know where to start, it was totally unacceptable,” the Australian told Saints TV.
“We let a lot of people down and I can only apologise. Our fans came through in good numbers, we had a big following, everyone was excited for the start of the season and we dished up that.
“Full credit to Stenhousemuir but from our point of view we should be coming here and winning pretty comfortably.
“We have to rectify it. I can stand here and say whatever I want but fans aren’t silly. Talk is cheap so we need to make sure we put that performance behind us and go again next week.”