Dundee’s 2-0 defeat at Livingston last night will go down in the history books as just another loss.
But it’s more than that for this Dark Blues side and their manager James McPake.
It was a clear indication that what they are doing right now isn’t good enough for the Scottish Premiership.
Livi are a decent outfit but they didn’t have to work too hard to see off Dundee.
And that’s the crux – the team sitting just three places above them looked streets ahead.
Rewind to the first meeting between the sides this term, Dundee were the better side that day but couldn’t find a way past Max Stryjek.
Livi were poor and destined to struggle. Hop into the present day and the difference between the sides is stark.
David Martindale’s team have sorted themselves out and are looking forward while McPake’s men have gone backwards.
Signings desperately needed
It’s been clear to anyone even taking a passing interest in the fortunes of Dundee’s oldest club that the 2022 version needs some new faces.
They need to up the overall quality of the team but also to give the existing players a lift.
They also need to do it fast.
The next two-and-a-half weeks could very well decide their season. And the fate of their manager.
The distance to Ross County one place above them is now five points. That’s a big gap at the top of the table, when you’re talking teams at the bottom where results are fewer and further between, it’s huge.
Within the next 17 days of league football, Dundee face St Johnstone, St Mirren, Dundee United and Ross County.
Including last night’s match against Livi, the Dark Blues basically face the rest of the bottom six back-to-back.
You couldn’t ask for a better run of fixtures.
But, right now, it doesn’t seem to matter who the opposition is, Dundee are finding a way to undo themselves.
The defence sorely needs stiffening up, though last night they were missing their first-choice centre-back pairing and left-back Jordan Marshall only lasted seven minutes before getting injured.
And a presence up front is needed too while skipper Charlie Adam struggled last night before being subbed early in the second half.
In the midst of their most important run of games of the season, Dundee need to find key signings all across the pitch.
Make or break
There’s no sign of the patience of owners Tim Keyes and John Nelms running out yet for McPake.
But he knows the next two weeks will make or break him as a Dundee manager in the Premiership.
Because if the form the Dark Blues are showing continues, the likes of Livi will be more than streets ahead, they’ll be uncatchable.
And Dundee will be heading back down to the Championship.