It’s January and Dundee have been held to a draw at bottom side Arbroath in the Championship.
To add to that disappointment, Jordan McGhee – a revelation in the centre of midfield – has been ruled out for the rest of the season.
Tricky surgery was required to fix a chest muscle that had been painfully stripped from the bone and a long recovery awaited.
However, fast forward three months and the 24-year-old is back in action at Dunfermline looking like he’d never been away.
“It’s brilliant to be back as it was really frustrating having to sit and watch the boys play,” he said after the 0-0 draw at East End Park.
“It was a long 10 or 12 weeks that’s for sure.
“I tore my pec off the bone and the two tendons came away, so I needed a long operation to repair it.
“The timescale to come back was meant to be around 16 weeks so to be back so quickly is great.
“It is all credit to the club and all the staff including physio Gerry Docherty as they have given me all the support I needed to get back so quickly.
“To be back six weeks early is amazing as they told me my season was probably over.
“Thankfully I have always been a quick healer and I believed I would be back sooner.
“I have come back to hopefully help us with the final push.”
McPake: I don’t know how he does it
Remarkably McGhee had only trained one day with the rest of the squad before putting in a fine performance against the Pars.
The rare nature of the injury meant the former Hearts man had been kept out of full training despite being able to run for the past few weeks.
And manager James McPake said after the game he had no worries about throwing McGhee straight back into things.
“It’s great to have Jordan back and I thought he was excellent,” the Dens boss said.
“I don’t know how he does it. He is an extremely fit lad and he works so hard and he has been a bit fortunate the injury let him do a lot of training.
“I had no qualms in putting him in and he led from the front.”
‘I was surprised to get the nod’
McGhee admits he was surprised to be back in the starting XI so quickly.
However, he came through the match unscathed and is gearing up now for the final three matches of the season.
He said: “I felt good actually and I have been back running for a while.
Monday was my first full training session so to come back and play against Dunfermline was brilliant.
“I think we were really unlucky not to come away with the three points.
“I was a wee bit surprised to get the nod but I knew in my head I was ready to go.
“I think the gaffer knows when he needs me I will do a job for him.”
Competition for places
With McGhee out of the picture, young midfielder Max Anderson has stepped into his place, doing a fine job of replacing the energy in the middle of the park.
However, he himself picked up a knock, as did in-form Paul McGowan with both missing the Pars clash.
That saw Shaun Byrne return from the start while Charlie Adam is another big midfield option.
McGhee, though, is happy to be fighting it out for a place in the team with that sort of competition.
“The team has been excellent since I have been out and I am delighted for them,” he said.
“Max Anderson is a brilliant young talent and everyone knows how good Paul McGowan is.
“We have five quality midfielders and that’s a good thing as it keeps pushing everyone on.
“Everyone wants to play in every game and competition is great to have.”
He added: “The good thing is everyone has been doing their bit for the team.
“We are in a good place and we have to push in the last few games.
“Our aim is to be back in the Premiership – everything about Dundee is a top-flight club.
“We have to make sure we do everything we can to get it back to where it belongs.”