Two defeats in a row and now out of the Championship play-off places – pressure is mounting on James McPake and his Dundee side.
Saturday’s poor 3-2 home defeat to Queen of the South saw the Dark Blues drop to fifth in the table and made it just five wins from their opening 14 league matches.
In a curtailed, 27-game season, time is running out for a Dundee side stacked with quality to find the form that can win them promotion.
That’s why Tuesday night’s home clash with Ayr United has suddenly taken on huge importance.
The Honest Men sit just three points behind the Dark Blues in the league table, despite occupying the relegation play-off spot after losing at the weekend.
Always a tight division, the second tier is outdoing itself right now with only seven points separating Raith in third and Ayr in ninth.
The silver lining to this cloud for Dundee is that they have it within their grasp to take the second-place position they desire come the end of April.
Looking at squads and budgets, that’s where this side should be finishing. Hopes of a title chase with Hearts were pretty much extinguished after game one of the season, though there was a flicker of life after their meeting in January.
Win all three of their re-arranged games and they jump back above Dunfermline into that second spot – it is in their own hands.
However, any repeat of Saturday’s performance – particularly the first half – and promotion will feel a long, long way off.
With a defeat to Ayr on Tuesday night it’s conceivable Dundee drop to seventh, if Inverness beat bottom side Alloa.
The defending on Saturday was obviously a huge negative but, on the plus side, the Dark Blues created enough chances to win the game against Queens.
There is no denying the fact that three weeks without a game for McPake’s side took away any sharpness they might have built up and their hope will be the weekend game has shaken off the rust.
It’s up to the manager now to find the solution that marries up their attacking threat through the likes of Osman Sow, Jason Cummings, Charlie Adam and Paul McMullan with defensive stability.
Because Queens was a bad day, after a bad day against Raith. Those bad days are beginning to mount up along with the pressure and they can’t afford many more.
Tuesday night against Ayr looks like the tipping point for a season – whichever way it tips could prove pivotal in James McPake’s future as manager of Dundee Football Club.