By Kevin Affleck
Craig Cathcart started the match by winning his first three duels with Glenn Murray, including a meaty first exchange with his wily opponent. It was difficult to imagine at that embryonic stage that Cathcart would be part of a reinforced defence that would concede three goals, but that's what transpired on an afternoon where precious little went right.
"It was something we didn't see coming," said the defender to Premier League Productions. "We came in fully prepared to give our all and give a good show and we are very deflated. But it’s early doors and we need to pick ourselves up pretty quickly."
The first and second goal definitely fell into the soft category while the third was the sort any side concedes when chasing the game. It was all very unlike a side coached by Javi Gracia.
"We’ll have a look in the week and see what we did well and didn’t, but it’s a hard one to take, especially being at home in the first game," said Cathcart. "We are disappointed and we’ll have a look and try to learn from it.
"It was just one of those games. We felt in the game in the first half, but just the final ball let us down. We had a chance and if we had taken it that might have changed things completely, but we are disappointed with the goals we conceded. They were clinical and we weren’t and sometimes that is how football goes."
This defeat will cut the team deep and there is likely to be a bit of soul-searching early in the week, but then the squad will regroup, go again and seek to put things right at Goodison Park on Saturday.
"We can’t look at this game too much," said the Northern Ireland international.
"We have to pick ourselves up and move on. We have lots of players to come in, pick us up and push to the lads to be better. We look forward to doing better next week."