Penicuik Athletic boss Johnny Harvey says he’ll shoulder some of the blame after his side surrendered their ten-game unbeaten Super League start and slipped off top spot.
The Cuikie crumbled on a torrid afternoon in which they were well beaten by a terrific Lochee United side who were well worthy of their 3-0 victory.
Harvey set his side up to play their easy-on-the-eye passing style on a heavy pitch, one which he says is the worst in the league and was never going to be conducive to pretty football.
“I’m really disappointed,” said Harvey. “The first 12 minutes we were just so slack and, deservedly so, we found ourselves 2-0 down. We didn’t turn up in the first half.
“They wanted it a bit more than us. It’s not very often I say that about my teams, because they are always in people’s faces and don’t let them play.
“I tried to make a couple of changes midway through the first half to inject a wee bit of something different into the game, but it didn’t pay off. It’s not the performance levels that we’ve come to expect this season, but we weren’t going to go all season unbeaten – that was never, ever going to happen.
“It’s now a about how we bounce back. It questions our character, and I don’t have any doubts about that. I think we showed character in the second half because we never gave in. We just never got the break of the ball. I think they were well organised, they had good players in the right areas of the park and they deserved their win.
“You look at the pitch and we’ve got a way of playing. Our pitch is probably one of the worst in the league and we’re probably one of the best football playing teams in the league, so it isn’t ideal. We’ve got it in our game to go longer. We’ve got the players that can go longer,but we have a preference for the way we want to play.
“I need to look at myself and the decisions I made as well; a couple of decisions I made on team selection and the way we tried to play. I’m quite critical of myself as well as the players, so I’ll have a look at me.”
Penicuik were left startled after a rampant opening 12 minutes from their Dundee visitors, who raced into the lead on seven minutes.
Grant Lawson split the home defence with a fine run before feeding Scott McComskie on the right side of the box. The winger’s cross was blocked by Gary Hamilton, but with goalkeeper Kyle Allison having flung himself out in attempt to gather the cross, Lawson slid the ball into the unguarded net.
Lawson then turned provider when he cut the ball back for striker Paddy Deane, who found himself in acres of space within the home penalty area to calmly take control of the ball before dispatching his strike into the net.
Harvey made a double switch on 27 minutes in a bid to galvanise his side, with Ross Montgomery and John MacDonald sacrificed for Arran Ponton on and Scotland Junior internationalist Andrew Forbes.
The hosts got their first sight of goal five minutes later with Aaron Somerville getting a strong head on Scott McCrory-Irving’s free-kick, but keeper Jordan Millar got down to make the stop.
Ponton came close to pulling one back for Penicuik on 52 minutes. His effort from the edge of the box looked netbound until Millar got a hand on it to tip over.
The match was over as a contest on 65 minutes, however after Lawson nicked the ball from John Williams midway inside the home side’s half as they tried to play it out from the back. He strode in one-on-one with Allison and calmly slotted the ball home. There was no way back for Penicuick.
Penicuik Athletic: Allison, MacDonald (Forbes), Williams, Hume, Hamilton, Jones, McCrory-Irving, Barr, Jamieson (Hamilton), Somerville, Montgomery (Ponton).
Lochee United: Millar, Webster, Kirk, Cameron, Ritchie, McComskie (Birse), Smith, Deasley, McNally, Lawson, Deane (Davie).