This is a landmark campaign for Fife football.
Boasting five clubs in the SPFL following Kelty Hearts’ promotion last term, the region has never been more handsomely represented in the senior game.
However, as full-time whistles blew across the country on Saturday, a grim picture for the Kingdom emerged.
Dunfermline, East Fife and Cowdenbeath prop up three of Scotland’s four divisions and — while the trio did not all share the Pars’ lofty pre-season aspirations — none expected to be bottom of their respective piles.
It remains early days. No club has ever been relegated in September.
But what is behind the tough start behind endured by three of Fife’s representatives?
Peter Grant — an infectious, enthusiastic character — took the reins during the summer and welcomed title talk. Why shouldn’t the Pars win the Championship this term?
Of ten summer signings, only Nikolay Todorov and Kai Kennedy have excited fans with any regularity, with injuries, illness and poor form plaguing many new arrivals.
A persistence with a porous 3-4-3 — and several players struggling within that shape — characterised the early weeks of the league season.
They conceded three or more goals in four successive league matches for the first time since the 1970s.
Now lining up in a 4-4-2, the Pars have stemmed the bleeding with successive 0-0 draws. Owain Fon Williams is back between the sticks in place of Deniz Mehmet; Vytas Gaspuitis is shining in place of Ross Graham.
But defensive security has come at the expense of attacking invention. Dunfermline look a side devoid of confidence and swagger, as one might expect given their plight.
Wednesday’s derby at Raith Rovers looms large for players and manager alike.
Compared with the comparative largesse of clubs like Queen’s Park, Cove Rangers and Falkirk, expectations at East Fife were modest.
Methil mainstays Scott Agnew and Craig Walker departed the club during the close season and boss Darren Young was charged with rebuilding from the free agent and loan markets — largely youngsters.
Then injuries hit hard.
Kyle Connell, brought in on loan from Kilmarnock to provide a goal threat, was sidelined almost immediately.
Ex-St Johnstone and Dundee United man Danny Swanson cannot get a steady run of fitness.
Stewart Murdoch, their most solid centre-half, is the latest victim.
Although the likes of Liam Watt, Danny Denholm and Kevin Smith still pose a threat, three games have passed since East Fife last troubled the scoresheet.
However, the real problems are at the other end.
Young’s side are haemorrhaging goals. They have conceded 30 times in 14 matches — including 16 in four away matches in League One this term.
Unless Young, who has proven himself as a burgeoning manager of some promise in recent years, can find a way to tighten up at the back then a relegation scrap could be on the cards.
In the Premier Sports Cup group phase, Gary Bollan’s men ran Fife rivals Raith Rovers close in a 1-0 reverse, won against Alloa and Brechin and took the lead against Livingston before succumbing to a 3-1 defeat.
Allied with some astute recruitment — the likes of Kyle Hutton, Craig Thomson and returning hero Liam Buchanan — few would have predicted Cowden would be Club 42 after eight games.
However, the Central Park side simply have not clicked in the final third. Buchanan, a cast-iron guarantee of goals, has found the net three times in the league; seven in all competitions.
But only Kris Renton (three) has found the net more than once over Cowden’s 14 outings this term.
Aside from a fine 3-1 victory over Elgin City on August 7, they have failed to score more than one goal in any league match.
For all that, Saturday’s 4-0 defeat against Stirling Albion was an outlier. Bollan’s side are generally well-drilled, diligent and hard to break down. Most of their games this term have been tight.
And should they find some inspiration in the final third, they have the quality and experience in the Blue Brazil dressing room to climb out of trouble.