Ged Scott, who watched the debacle for The Post, on a sombre day-after...

A criticism levelled at modern-day players, which may not be entirely unfair, is that they do not remotely share the fans' passion for the game.

But, when teams suffer defeats of the magnitude of Birmingham City's 7-0 humiliation by Liverpool in the FA Cup quarter-final on Tuesday night, the pain is there for all to see.

Most of the Blues players slunk off into the night, looking empty-eyed, lead-legged and as "shellshocked" as their manager, Steve Bruce.

But Bruce showed great backbone in turning up before the media to face the music and there were a small handful from the home dressing room, inspired by the manager, who had the character and heart to try to get across to the supporters who pay their wages just how bad they felt.

Jamie Clapham's sole concern was for those poor fans who had just witnessed their team's worst defeat in 100 years of football at St Andrew's.

And he gave them credit for not getting on the players' backs during the game.

"It was the one good thing to come out of the evening," said Clapham, "They are still behind the club. The fans who stayed to the end are a credit to the club.

"It was a very disappointing night but the majority were there still when we were 7-0 down and that says a lot for them.

"It says a lot for their character and I'd just like to thank them for that.

"A couple came on the pitch and I don't agree with that but they were terrific, really and, if a team is getting as badly beaten as that, the fans have the right to do anything."

If Blues' worst defeat in any competition in 48 years really was an accident waiting to happen, the only consolation is that it should have happened in the FA Cup.

If West Bromwich Albion's strikers were half-decent, they could have handed out a similarly heavy punishment in Blues' previous home game. But now all that matters is how Blues respond in the remaining games in the Premiership.

Portsmouth are already on the shoulders of Blues and Albion in a relegation battle that, with Sunderland already looking condemned, increasingly appears to be a case of perming two down from three.

But there is already an uncomfortable awareness at St Andrew's - there could be an even bigger problem to come.

With the likelihood of getting nothing from their next two games against Manchester United and Chelsea, Blues could fall even further behind the pack.

If Albion and Pompey started picking up results and Blues then got nothing from their games against Bolton Wanderers and Wigan, they could even face the unpalatable prospect of being relegated at Villa Park on Easter Sunday.

The one positive outlook, as so often happens in football, is that such an embarrassing defeat as Tuesday night's might prove to be the glue that bonds the dressing-room.

"Although it doesn't look good, let's hope this result is something that we needed," said Clapham. "Let's hope it's going to give us a right kick up the backside, if we didn't need one already.

"I haven't got a clue how it's going to affect us. At the moment, I'm just shell-shocked. To lose by that many is a massive blow and it's hard to put into words.

"But we've got to go on from here. We know what we've got to do. We know what games we have left.

"We've got some big teams coming up and if we perform like that again, I don't want to think about what the result might be.

"The fortunate thing is that this defeat had nothing to do with the league.

"All we can do is work hard and, although there will be one or two questions asked, the only way is up."