Raith Rovers defender Euan Murray believes the team needs to develop a nasty streak to resolve their poor away form.
Rovers’ strength at home, where they have not lost a league game since February 2017, has not been matched on the road with three defeats in the last four.
Speaking after the 3-2 loss at Montrose on Saturday, which leaves the Kirkcaldy men 13 points behind Arbroath, the left back admitted that the team needs to fight harder for points away from Stark’s Park.
“Since I come to the club we’ve found it difficult away from home for one reason or another,” he said.
“I don’t know whether we need to be a bit nastier or have a bit more know-how about us when you come to places like this.
“At home it’s a big pitch, it suits us, we can get the ball down and play, and teams sit in and try to make it difficult.
“But when you go away from home teams are going to mix it with you, and see if you can match that physicality, and deal with balls in over your head.
“It’s more scrappy, they make the game a fight and as players we need to come through that better, and show that wee bit more character.
“That’s where there needs to be an understanding between players and fans that it’s not going to be pretty football, but if we come away with three points nobody going to argue. Today we lacked that.”
Murray accepted that the players were to blame for the poor second half performance at Links Park.
“It was a bad one,” he said. “In the first half I thought we were on top in the game. We got ourselves into positions where we could have created more clear cut chances, or maybe a break of the ball didn’t go our way.
“In the second half we came out, and to be fair to the gaffer and Smudger, they told us everything they were going to do, and they did it to a tee.
“So as players the responsibility lies on us. It just wasn’t good enough. I know it’s cheap saying it, but we just need to go next week and try to get three points again.”
Murray was particularly scathing in his appraisal of Montrose’s winning goal, which saw Raith hit on the counter from their own attacking free-kick.
“To be brutally honest, it’s totally unprofessional,” he said. “It’s from our set piece and I think a few of us are claiming for a penalty, but there’s no excuse. We go through these things every Friday and work on the set-up, and who goes back when the defenders go up the park.
“Then even after that we need to look at the recovery runs back in because for one of their players to get to the ball first is embarrassing for all of us, myself included.”
Murray is refusing to throw the towel in on the title race, but admits the team is focusing on fixing their own problems first and foremost.
“You saw last year that it can be swings and roundabouts,” he said. “Arbroath are flying but they are not our concern right now.
“Our concern is coming to places like this and winning and putting ourselves in a position to be able to keep up the pace that’s been set.
“If you don’t do the basics and come to places like Montrose, Stenhousemuir and Stranraer and pick up points then you’re not going to be anywhere near it.
“Before we look at anyone else we need to have a look at ourselves in the mirror and take it from there.”