Richie Foran bears the burden as Inverness seek upturn in fortunes
Richie Foran's short tenure as Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager has been testing.
His side emerge from the winter break bottom of the Premiership and without a win since late October as they begin 2017 with a Scottish Cup tie at Elgin City on Saturday.
There have been notable highs - Inverness are after all the only side to take a point off runaway Premiership leaders Celtic.
However, no-one could realistically suggest three wins from 21 games is a positive return.
"I'm letting the supporters down. I'm letting the board down. I'm letting the chairman down. That'll change. I'll get better and my team will get better."
It was refreshingly honest.
In an interview broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound on Tuesday, 36-year-old Foran maintained that stance but is adamant he, and his side, will do better.
"It was [former assistant manager] Maurice Malpas who told the team years ago, 'look at yourself first before you look to blame others', said Foran. "That's what I do now. I always look at myself.
"I'm the manager, I pick the team. Results aren't going right it's mainly down to me. These players have proved they're good enough so at the moment I'm not getting it right but I will get it right.
"Maybe I haven't been picking the right team enough. Maybe they're not getting the right direction. I'll go through it all but I take full responsibility.
"This season we're not good enough and I'm the new manager. We'll get it right."
'Management a different ball game'
As a player, Foran conceded he found it hard to accept defeat to a level that was "crazy." He's tempered that.
"You get older and wiser," he explained. "In my younger years I couldn't deal with defeat for three or four days after a game.
"I'd beat myself up too much. Other players would be in the shower after the game and couldn't care less. When I got older I started to deal with it better.
"Management is a different ball game. You're always thinking about football, you're always thinking how you can improve things. That's the way it is at the moment.
"The first defeat as a manager was hard to take. I was absolutely drained and slept for about two days.
"I wouldn't say they're easier to deal with but I'm sleeping better. It's not life or death. This club means a lot to me but there's always someone worse off than you.
"It's testing times, challenging times but it's a challenge I'm up for and the players are up for it.
"I'm dedicated to the club. I'm dedicated to the city. I'm here for life, not two or three years. I want to be the longest-ever serving manager here."
Such loyalty in contemporary football is rare but seems a reciprocal arrangement with Inverness CT handing their former captain Foran a four-year contract on his appointment last summer.
There's little likelihood of a knee-jerk reaction at board level if things don't go well over the coming weeks.
"Some players will look to me to lead them," added Foran. "Some of them might be a wee bit scared at the moment, where we're sitting.
"They're not showing it but maybe on the inside they are. I've got to lead from the front. I won't get too high, I won't get too low.
"We're seven [points] off the top six. Come the end of the season I fully expect we'll be mid-table in the top six.
"We need to start winning now. The first half of the season you're looking to get performances right, now it's all about results."