Falkirk captan Jordan McGhee admits the Bairns’ disastrous relegation season started to go wrong last summer under then manager Paul Hartley.
The club will play in the third tier for the first time in 39 years next term after finishing bottom of the Championship on goal difference on Saturday.
Their plunge into League One comes after Falkirk controversially scrapped their youth academy in December 2017 to prioritise the use of funds in the first team.
But Hartley was axed just three games into the league season after recruiting some 16 players, none of whom played in the weekend’s 3-2 win over Ross County.
Ray McKinnon, who himself signed 18 players in January, replaced Hartley in the dugout and oversaw an upturn in form during the second half of the season but McGhee admits the damage had already been done.
He said: “Where did it start to go wrong? From the beginning of the season, there were so many new signings.
“It never really clicked and it’s just been difficult since then.
“We managed to get most of them out the door and the gaffer got his own squad in.
“He’s done really well to get this squad to fight and take things as far as this.
“We had a lot of ground to make up at one point. We’ve almost managed to do it, but just came up short at the final hurdle.
“With so many players coming and going, it was always going to take time.
“But, unfortunately, you don’t get time when you’re down at the bottom of the table.”