Chris Duggan admits he feels for the East Fife support as the club licks it wounds from the weekend’s 5-0 derby day trouncing.
East Fife went into Saturday’s game with fierce rivals Raith Rovers sitting just one spot behind them in the league having picked up six points from their previous two games.
There was a real sense of optimism that the club could finally record its first derby win over Raith since 1988.
But the optimism was unfounded, and the Fifers fell to a convincing defeat nobody expected.
Duggan realises how difficult heavy, derby defeats can be to take and says the players are hurting too.
“The worst thing about it is for the fans and everybody who was looking forward to it,” he said.
“They all did their bit by showing up in their hundreds and then we go and give them that.
“Their goals all came from crosses apart from maybe their fifth which was more of a cut back.
“It was stuff we knew we were going to have to deal with and had talked about.
“We didn’t do it.”
Raith raced into the lead on the fifth minute, breaking the deadlock through Bobby Barr.
There was simply no reaction, and a defence which has looked assured so far this season, particularly in the full-back positions, was just torn to pieces.
The next three goals would all come from deep crosses into the box with Lewis Vaughan’s fifth coming at the end of a neat passage of play.
For East Fife, it has to be a case of learning the lessons in defeat.
“Not taking anything away from Raith because they took their chances, but there was a lot of mistakes made for their goals,” said Duggan.
“It’s back to the drawing board after that.
“We’d been playing well and that’s why it hurts even more.
“Nobody expected that.
“We expected to compete and come away with the win.
“To come out and not only lose but to lose in that fashion is going to stick with us until we get a chance to rectify it the next time we play them.”
East Fife will have to kick their heels this weekend as the second round of the Irn-Bru Cup is played.
Duggan says it’s important the side uses their free weekend wisely as the players aim to bounce straight back when they return to action against Queen’s Park at Bayview on September 9.
“You want to get straight back to work and get back at it,” conceded the former Partick Thistle striker.
“But it depends on how you look at it.
“It also give us that week to sort out the things that went wrong and let this fester and build up to drive you on to the next game.
“Raith are one of the best in the league but I also think we are.
“There’s a reason we were sitting just behind them.
“I get Ayr and them are full-time but, when we go into the next game, I’ll expect to win again.
“Yeah we lost 5-0 and we have to hold our hands up because it should have been 5-0.
“We have boys to come back and I truly believe we can compete with them and Ayr all season.”