From the best performance of his tenure as manager to what felt like the worst defeat of his career in 12 minutes.
That was how quickly the pendulum of emotion swung for Dundee manager James McPake as he saw his side give up what looked an unassailable three-goal lead to Dunfermline on Saturday.
Inspired by a tremendous display from talisman Charlie Adam, the Dark Blues looked to be romping to a victory that could kickstart their faltering Championship season.
Adam’s 35-yard screamer had capped a dominant first-half display for the home side before he laid on goals for Osman Sow and Liam Fontaine in the second half.
However, a thigh injury forced Adam off on 72 minutes before Dunfermline staged an unlikely comeback with a headed goal from Paul Watson on 78 minutes added to by a penalty and free-kick combo from Declan McManus.
The latter came with the last kick of the game as he swung a tremendous free-kick into the net from 25 yards.
McPake said: “I’m disgusted with the last 12 minutes.
“We were so dominant and 3-0 up against a team who have been really good this season. We made them look very ordinary which they’re not.
“That feels like one of the worst defeats I’ve ever had – and it’s not even a defeat.
“Look, I’m devastated. It was three individual errors which cost us three goals and full points in the end.
“It’s a sore one to take. For 75 minutes it was the best performance during my time as manager here.
“But 75 minutes doesn’t win you football games.
“We’ll look at positives but we’ll suffer first. I know how much I’m suffering, I can only imagine how much the fans are suffering.
“They must have been thinking ‘that’s the Dundee we want to see’ and it was exciting stuff but we made silly decisions.
“We need to eradicate those and do it quickly. We are shooting ourselves in the foot too often.
“We all need to take a good look in the mirror – myself included. Probably myself the most.”
Such was his dominance in the game, the loss of Adam to injury with 18 minutes on the clock proved a key moment in the contest.
However, McPake says he had no choice but to protect his best player with his team cruising 3-0 to the good.
“I didn’t want to take Charlie Adam off but he had a tight thigh,” said McPake.
“We were 3-0 up and I couldn’t risk losing him for six weeks. Even if it was 3-2 I couldn’t risk losing Charlie for that length of time.
“I don’t want to take Charlie Adam off and he never wants to come off for this football club.
“He was outstanding. He’s a Dundee fan and you can see what it means for him when he scores the goal. I feel gutted for him as well because he’s devastated.
“I’ve got to protect my best player and I had to get him off. This club can’t afford to lose Charlie Adam over a game that, let’s be honest, should have been put to bed.
“For 78 minutes it’s everything we ask the players to do, it’s everything we see in training and what we know we can do to any team in this league when we get it right.
“It’s then what happens after that that’s the worrying thing.
“We gave away a free header for their first goal. Then it was a stupid decision to give away a penalty when we don’t need to – but I can give Max Anderson a bit of leeway for sticking a toe in which led to their equaliser.
“It was a bad decision but he’s a young kid learning his trade and he will learn from that.
“Credit to Dunfermline and Stevie Crawford because they gave us a scare last year and we got away with it – we didn’t this time.”
The draw leaves Dundee trailing the Pars by five points while they’ve cut the deficit to leaders Hearts to eight points, though the Jambos now have a game in hand.
The Dark Blues sit in seventh spot in the Championship table ahead of a quickfire double against two of the league’s bottom three sides Queen of the South and Alloa in the space of four days.