Joe Cardle described the mood in the Raith Rovers dressing room as ‘horrible’ after the cruel injury-time defeat in Hamilton on Tuesday.
Rovers were on the verge of a confidence-boosting 2-2 draw at the home of the title chasers when Jason Scotland struck a 94th minute winner.
It was a devastating blow for Raith, who are desperate for points after a run of just one win in 14 league games.
Cardle said: “That was a real kick in the teeth and it was a horrible changing room to be in after the game.
“We know we didn’t play our best football, but it was a similar game to Dundee the previous week where we had to just work hard, and we thought we’d done enough to get a point.
“I don’t think you can question the boys’ effort - that was our fourth game in two weeks and the boys put everything into the game.”
Raith are facing a battle to stay in the league, when just a few months ago, Cardle believed they could challenge for the title.
“Back in December we were third in the table, just a couple of points behind Hamilton and Dundee, and the boys all believed we were going to win the league,” Cardle said.
“For me it was the Cowdenbeath game at home that was the turning point.
“We had the game won but we lost a last minute equaliser and the changing room was really down after the game.
“It took us two or three games to get that out our system and you could see boys’ confidence was affected.
“The boys know themselves that this run hasn’t been good enough because if you look at our starting 11, you would put it against anyone in the league.”
Rovers travel to Alloa on Saturday to face one of the sides that are also battling to avoid a relegation play-off.
It is also the Raith players last chance to cement their place in the team ahead of the Ramsdens Cup final the following Sunday.
“It’s a massive two weeks - and the boys know that,” Cardle said. “The gaffer has been mentioning for the last month that we’re all playing for our places in the cup final.
“It will be a great occasion for everyone, and it’s a game I want to play in, but the league comes first for me.
“I don’t want us to be struggling down there. I’m staying positive.”