Scott Young fears he can no longer inspire Glentoran's top men
Scott Young gave his strongest indication yet that he may not be the man capable of reviving the fortunes of Glentoran, following Saturday's defeat to Ballymena United.
Having just watched his team, in particular his defence, capitulate in the second half of a match where they led before going down 4-2, Young cut a solemn figure and appeared to come to the conclusion that his players weren't giving him their all.
That immediately conjures up the dreaded phrase 'lost the dressing room' and, while that might be a slight exaggeration, it must be something that is going through Young's mind.
For all his faults, and there have been a few - his latest, taking off his best player in Gary Hamilton immediately after the Sky Blues went 2-1 up - Young can't take all the blame when a defence of such ability and experience put in a performance that would embarrass the Glens' Under-11s manager.
David Howland had put the home side in front but, when the Glens failed to clear their lines, Gary McCutcheon bagged the first of his treble after the break, before heading in unmarked for his second.
Andy Waterworth levelled but McCutcheon set up Allan Jenkins to head in, also unmarked, before the Scotsman completed his hat-trick after Sean Ward had made a mess of an attempted clearing header and an even bigger mess of trying to challenge the forward.
It led the boss to evaluate that, firstly, those in that position know that there is no one in Glentoran's small squad capable of taking their place when they are fit and available and, secondly, they aren't giving him, personally, the kind of performances that he should expect.
"We have four defenders (plus goalkeeper Elliott Morris) who have played 1,820 games for this football club and the goals that we conceded were just unbelievable," he moaned.
"I can only work with what I have and I think some of them know that I can't change it. That's not a sleight on them that's just being honest."
Asked, then, if he felt he couldn't get any more out of them Young said: "Well you are looking for a headline there."
He added: "I feel brutally let down. It hurts. I can handle young kids making mistakes, they are learning and I can live with that as long as they aren't repeating them.
"Certain players have been at this club for so long but are still making the same mistakes and they know there is not somebody there behind them to fill in.
"At this moment in time I am asking myself major, major questions because, when you see the sort of errors that are being made - mistakes being made by established players - you naturally question your own situation.
"So, I wouldn't say I am fighting a losing battle but I am fighting a very difficult battle."
Sky Blues boss Roy Walker was fighting a similar battle last week after losing 5-1 at home to Coleraine. It led him to consider his position at the time and many supporters were calling for his head. To his and the team's eternal credit, the response was extraordinarily superb.
To lose to your biggest rivals by such a scoreline and then go to the Oval, albeit not the fortress it once was, and win handsomely shows stunning strength of character and Walker admits he had much soul-searching to do following last Saturday's defeat.
"I felt sorry for myself last week," he said.
"I did what the good book says, let a man examine himself. That's what I did and I told the boys last week. I am the same manager that has now ... and someone is going to get me the stat on this ... won four consecutive Premier League games away from home.
"I don't think our football club has ever done that. Ever, in their history, ever. I am the same manager. I am the same guy, so you have got to examine yourself."
Now the task remains trying to replicate their away form when they turn out at the Showgrounds, with Walker admitting that it has become a mental issue.
"If you want to be totally analytical, you have to say it has got to be an attitude of mind, it has got to start somewhere in the psyche of an individual," he said.
"You need to forget your surroundings, not take too much cognisance of where you are actually playing."
Goalscoring hero McCutcheon feels that, with United at home for the next two games, against Dungannon Swifts and Portadown, they are about to embark on their most important stage of the season so far.
"The next two games are massive, they are bigger than this one against Glentoran. These games take care of themselves because we always perform away from home.
"As long as we keep working as hard as we have done out there or a get a wee bit of luck maybe, something is bound to come for us at home and hopefully we can pick up some wins."