Discipline was the key word for Raith Rovers boss John McGlynn this week as he blasted his players for losing the plot in Peterhead.
Not only did the Kirkcaldy side relinquish an eight-game unbeaten run, losing their place at the top of League One, they also finished the game with 10 men after Iain Davidson was sent off for dissent.
It was the team’s second red card in a fortnight following Steven Anderson’s dismissal against Clyde, where one of his yellow cards also resulted from talking back to the referee.
Rovers will look to bounce back as they entertain Stranraer on Saturday and McGlynn has warned his players to avoid any verbal confrontation with the match officials.
“It was certainly a below-par performance on Saturday and I wasn’t happy with it,” he told the Press.
“We made six fouls in the game yet had three yellow cards and a sending off so that doesn’t please me either because the cards are for dissent, which is stupid.
“I’m saying that as someone who got sent to the stand, but I think I’ve learned my lesson and the players are going to have to learn their lesson because that’s not the way to go about it.
“I want my team to have discipline and on Saturday they went over the line.
“We deal with it now so it won’t become a massive issue.”
Davidson will now be suspended for Saturday’s match, while Brad Spencer, who was also booked for dissent, will miss the rearranged home match against Forfar on Tuesday, November 26 after accumulating six yellow cards.
The defeat at Balmoor followed three successive league draws, leaving Rovers without a win in four league games, placing even greater importance on the need for three points at Stark’s Park on Saturday.
“Every game is important – you must respect this league,” McGlynn said. “Clyde were flying up until Saturday and Stranraer beat them 3-0. This league is notorious for that.
“Last year was abnormal for what Arbroath did. What’s happening now is a normal League One, where you’ve got seven teams or so all within six points.
“There’s no one showing tremendous consistency to break away, which makes it very interesting.
“It means you have to be on your game all the time. You can just take it for granted that your skill alone is going to take you through because it won’t.
“You’ve got to at least match the commitment, attitude, and effort from every other team, if not better it, and then, maybe, your ability can sway the game in your favour.”
After enjoying the view from the top of the table in recent weeks, Rovers now find themselves one point behind Falkirk but still firmly in the title mix.
“There’s no one running away with it, and we’re very much in it,” McGlynn said.
“Everyone knows about the key players we’ve got missing and that’s very unfortunate, but we have to get on with it and need others to come in and take the bull by the horns.”
Rovers are close to welcoming Joao Victoria back from injury but Saturday will come too soon for the forward.
Lewis Allan’s knee injury is also improving but no timescale has been set on the striker’s return.
Regan Hendry will see a consultant tomorrow (Friday) to determine whether an operation is required on his medial ligament injury, or rehabilitation, as the influential midfielder faces several months on the sidelines.