Stuart Kettlewell admits he and Ross County co-manager Steven Ferguson were in uncharted territory as they pored over their 4-1 home defeat by Livingston.
The Ladbrokes Championship winners began life in the top flight with four points from their opening two games but they were handed a rude awakening by Gary Holt’s men.
Jon Guthrie and Steven Lawless netted after early set-pieces and Lyndon Dykes made it 3-0 inside 26 minutes.
Ross Stewart pulled one back before the break but Jack Stobbs struck a brilliant volley on the counter-attack to kill off the contest seven minutes after the restart.
Kettlewell felt they had failed to deal with Livingston’s well-known strengths and admitted no one escaped blame.
“We were just never at the races,” he said on the club’s media channel.
“If you look at the first three goals we didn’t defend our penalty area, and we take full responsibility for that as a team, and I mean staff and players, everybody.
“We pride ourselves on being well organised and hard to break down in those scenarios.
“But even in open play, we were never at the races.”
The former County midfielder added: “We have not had to deal with this situation since myself and Steven took charge and this is the stark reality of what you are going to have to deal with in the Premiership, and by that I mean the type of scenarios that we just weren’t up to dealing with.
“It is very very frustrating when you have a belief in guys and feel that we have the capabilities of doing so. It was just such a bad day for us.
“We knew that Livingston were going to be physical and knew that they were going to have a real energy about them. And we just never felt we got involved with that or dealt with that at any point.
“We knew Alan Lithgow was going to come to the side of the pitch and throw long balls into our penalty area. That was no surprise to us, that was highlighted before the game and we knew what was coming, and we showed a soft centre in terms of how we dealt with that.
“But there was no element of it that was acceptable and of the standard that we have set.”
Holt was rewarded for throwing Stobbs in for a debut after signing the winger on loan from Sheffield Wednesday during the week.
“It was his first game since February and he said to me after 10 minutes that he couldn’t breathe,” Holt said.
“But it was a tremendous finish. He also did it in training the other day.”
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