The nerves have started jangling among the Dundee support, with the team having played themselves into a relegation battle. Our football writer Ian Roache ponders what the rest of the season may hold for the Dens men.
A neutral will have looked at the game in Dingwall on Tuesday night with 81 minutes on the clock and fancied Ross County to lose.
However, a been-there-seen-it-done-it Dundee supporter would have known better.
He or she will have seen that County had been reduced to 10 men after Jim O’Brien’s red card and, inversely, feared the worst for their own side.
Sadly, rather than use their numerical superiority to go on to clinch what would have been an absolutely vital victory, Paul Hartley’s men did lose the game 2-1.
Not only did the Staggies grab the winner through Liam Boyce’s penalty in the final minute but Dundee went on to finish with 10 men themselves after Danny Williams was sent packing in stoppage-time.
This almost fatalist approach to football adopted by many supporters who have suffered the agonies of previous years will have them fearing the worst now.
So what could be in store in these frantic final few weeks of the season?
Saturday, April 8: Hearts v Dundee at Tynecastle. Lose this and it will be a shocking six defeats on the trot. Hearts’ last home result – a 5-0 thrashing from Celtic last Sunday – was almost, but not quite, as bad as Dundee’s 7-0 drubbing from Aberdeen two days previously. A lot will depend on how the Dark Blues start the game because if they are immediately on the back-foot then it could be a long afternoon. They will do well to take anything from this match.
Saturday, April 15: Dundee v Hamilton Accies at Dens. Had you looked at this fixture at the start of the season you would have it down as winnable to say the least. However, as city rivals Dundee United found out to their cost this time last year, when you are in the drop zone you worry about every single fixture. They need to get three points from this or it really will be squeaky bum time.
The post-split fixtures then start on April 29, finishing on the weekend of May 20-21.
If Dundee’s matches against the other sides currently in the bottom half play out as expected, they will face Kilmarnock away, Ross County at home, Motherwell home, Hamilton away and Inverness home, with the chronological order announced when the final five fixtures are published.
It does not also work out like that, though, with some teams facing a three-to-one allocation in previous years.
Perhaps encouragingly, the Dark Blues have won three (against Well, Accies and ICT), drawn one (versus County) and lost one (against Killie) of those corresponding matches this season.
The two-legged promotion play-off final is scheduled for Thursday May 25 and Sunday 28th, with the Championship club at home in the first game and the Premiership team hosting the second.