JOHN HUGHES has apologised to Dunfermline fans for the “unacceptable” rout at Morton and admits they need to mix up their style of play to move off the basement.

The struggling Pars were leapfrogged by their bottom-of-the-table opponents following a stinging 5-0 reverse at Cappielow, a match which saw them go into the interval three goals down.

Hughes took over from Peter Grant in November but his side are now winless in their last five matches, failing to score in four of them, while shipping 12 at the other end.

A frank exchange of views followed as the inquest into the Greenock defeat began and, speaking this week, Hughes said: “You can’t feel sorry for yourself. I have to show the enthusiasm to get them going again.

“I’d like to take the opportunity, and I think I said it in the press, to apologise to the supporters. It’s not acceptable, especially where we are, against a team that are round about us and a team that we’ve not beaten this year.

“It’s really disappointing. There’s a frustration, but it was one of these games where everything Morton did seemed to come off for them, and we were on the wrong end of it.

“One thing I will say is we play a lot of nice football but we need to start being better in both boxes, in attacking with more shots, more crosses, and hopefully scoring goals, and we have to defend better.

“It’s not rocket science. We’ve had the unfortunate task to look over the game again, the 90 minutes. It’s our job to do that, try and rectify it, help them and try and fix the mistakes.

“I would like to think we’ll be a lot better on Saturday on the back of the disappointment of losing the game, and using that as the fuel to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“I think we have to mix it up a little bit. It goes back to when I first came in – I’ve been so honest, I’m not telling any lies – we’re vulnerable a little bit defensively. We try and give them a little bit of protection, and we want to score more goals, so when we put the extra one up front, it leaves us vulnerable.

“We just need to keep working hard and all the stuff we’re seeing, we need to draw it up into the training curriculum, just keep working on it, and hopefully it sinks in and we can go and rectify it.

“I’ve been here now for six or seven weeks and everyone in the Championship’s capable of beating each other. We’re hanging in there, we’re still in there, and I’m just hoping that’s the wake-up call for us to get going. Let’s get a few wins together.

“It’s not easy. We need to stand up and be counted. If you want stay in this league, no matter what, you have to get results and if it’s an ugly 1-0, I’ll take it.”

Heading into the Hamilton match, Hughes said that captain Graham Dorrans, who has missed the last two games, was due to return to training on Wednesday having been out in relation to COVID-19, while Rhys Breen was due to come back yesterday (Friday), with both players in contention to be involved for the match.