Dundee manager Jim McIntyre has told his players they need to quickly get “streetwise” like next opponents Hearts.
McIntyre saw his side concede four goals from set-pieces without reply in his first game at charge at Livingston on Saturday.
The players have been doing extra work in that department ahead of the visit of Craig Levein’s Ladbrokes Premiership leaders on Tuesday, but McIntyre has warned that his side need to amend their mindset to get off the bottom of the table.
“We need to make sure we defend well, we know we are going to be put under pressure, balls in the box,” he said.
“But they have also got a lot of good players. Hearts have a real identity in how they play, their image as a team represents their manager. They have that steely grit, determination, and they are streetwise.
“But they also have a very strong spine with (Steven) MacLean and (Steven) Naismith’s guile, knowing when to drop in, they have pace in the wide areas, and full-backs who like to bomb on, and real aggression at the back. We know we have our work cut out.
“But as I say about streetwise, they know when to break a game up – if a team’s countering they will put you on your backside. They will make sure they get fouls, they will surround the referee. That’s part of the game and it’s something we need to be better at. Talent alone is not enough.
“Whether it changes quickly enough, is whether the players take it on board. If they don’t, then you know that’s obviously going to be a problem for you.
“The players have had key information to help them. When we are in possession of the ball, go and play, go and show what you are good at. They have licence to do that. It’s about taking responsibility.”
Midfielder Lewis Spence is keen to learn and act quickly after losing previous boss Neil McCann and suffering a heavy defeat on McIntyre’s debut within the space of four days.
“We feel angry,” the 22-year-old said. “Getting beat 4-0 is not great at all, I just feel embarrassed. It’s really embarrassing – 4-0, four set-pieces, bottom of the league – watching Sportscene and looking at the table is not great.
“We need to keep going. We work our b**** off all the time in training, we don’t mope about the training park, we are in here bubbly again.
“That’s all good and well, but we need to start picking up results. It’s a results business and it’s not a good start for the new manager.
“We don’t want to go into the Christmas period rock bottom. We honestly think we are a top-six team but we can’t keep saying it. We sound crazy every week.”