Glentoran boss Alan Kernaghan is demanding a response from his team in Saturday’s showdown against Glenavon at Mourneview Park.
The East Belfast boys finally hit the buffers last weekend when they crashed to their fourth successive Danske Bank Premiership defeat when comprehensively beaten at home by Warrenpoint Town.
It left Kernaghan shaking his head in disbelief as he trooped off at the finish, with the jeers from angry home fans ringing in his ears.
With Ballymena Untied now hot on their heels, Glentoran’s hopes of finishing in the top six are now beginning to come under scrutiny – it’s something the manager is aware of.
“Last week was totally unacceptable – and the players know it,” said the former Republic of Ireland international defender.
“We’ve had poor days, but that was by far the worst. It was embarrassing.
“I can honestly say, there were no positives to take from the game. We defended poorly, never competed in midfield and hadn’t a shot on goal.
“It as a rank poor day at the office, but it was worse than that and there is no point in trying to paper over the cracks.
“I was expecting a tough game, but we simply never looked like scoring all day – we had just no hunger about us.”
With Ciaran Caldwell back from suspension – he was dismissed against Crusaders the previous week – Kernaghan insists his boys must display character and passion if they are to avoid their fifth successive league defeat.
“The important thing now is how the boys respond from from last week’s nightmare,” he added.
“We can do all the preparation stuff and make sure they are mentally and physically ready, but once they go over the white line, it’s up to them.
“But I honestly think I can’t get any worse.”
In contrast, Glenavon moved into fourth place in the table following their last gaps win at Dungannon.
They are only five points adrift of second placed Cliftonville, but crucially have played one game less.
“It was a big three points for us at Dungannon – it’s never an easy place to go,” said match winner Joel Cooper.
“There were not a great deal of chances for either side, so I was happy to put away the one that fell to me. I though we deserved the points.
“We moved up a place, so our aim now is to catch the team above us.
“We just need to keep winning games to see where it takes us.”