INTERIM Falkirk manager Gary Holt has apologised to the club’s supporters following the Bairns’ collapse at Firhill on Thursday night.

The League One outfit headed to Glasgow knowing that a win would leave the fate of the trophy in their hands, only for the visitors to fall apart at the seams as Partick Thistle strolled to a 5-0 victory to wrap up the Jags’ title bid.

Falkirk still have two games left to play before the play-offs get under way and Holt admits that his players will need to offer far more in the coming fixtures if they are to have any chance of regaining their Championship status.

“I had to analyse the game again when I got back to my place because we seem to be a soft touch away from home,” he said. “When I say that I don’t mean going in for tackles or headers, it’s more wondering whether we have the mentality and the character to get back into games when the other team scores first. That’s something I’ll address.

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“Obviously, it’s hard to watch how we collapsed at Firhill. You’re trying to make changes and put things in place but we had more injuries again against Thistle and it’s been a brutal period for us in that respect ever since we came back. But we need to take responsibility because if you’re not prepared to face up to adversity and go toe-to-toe with it then you’re going to struggle in this game.

“This is a young squad so it’s a learning curve for them but they need to deal with it. I wanted to go to Firhill and win the game, I wanted to give them a platform they could play on but we never got up the pitch and we didn’t win second balls because we were too deep whenever the ball came forward.

“It wasn’t acceptable and I can only apologise to everyone associated with the club because that’s a performance no-one is happy with.”

The next challenge for Holt is to try and pick his players back up after a morale-sapping defeat and get the fire burning within them once more. The problem as he sees it, though, is that his players must have that internal drive to carry out the game plan rather than simply going through the motions.

Holt added: “Of course confidence is important but this is also about people trying to make a living. A lot of our players are out of contract and it won’t be me deciding whether or not they get a new one – their performances on the pitch will decide that for them and not too many on Thursday could say they deserved one.

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“That’s what I’m trying to get through to them. It’s not just about turning up and playing – you’ve got to do your job to the best of your ability. I’m meticulous when it comes to attention to detail and I spent hours analysing Thistle and working out ways in which we could hurt them but they didn’t use that. They didn’t execute it well enough.

“Now I’ll take that on the chin and did I pick the right team? We are where we are with injuries but it’s something I need to look at. I’ll be telling them to get their chins up because I won’t be feeling sorry for them. That’s not how it works. No one is going to give you anything in football. Did they expect Thistle just to hand them the three points? That’s the disappointing thing for me – you have to work hard to earn the right to be successful in any walk of life and we didn’t do that.”