It was almost cruel that the Dundee players walked up the tunnel only to be told they had lost ground in the basement battle.
They had left the Easter Road pitch with a spring in their step after a fantastic fightback had earned them a 2-2 draw against Hibs.
To then discover that their precious point was trumped by the three fellow strugglers St Mirren had taken off Hearts was as pitiless as the Edinburgh weather.
However, as you took the temperature after the game you began to realise that the Dark Blues weren’t feeling sorry for themselves.
Instead, there was real positivity in the air.
And so there should have been.
This display full of guts, determination and self-belief provided plenty of grounds for optimism ahead of the next fixture – that massive match at home to Hamilton Accies on December 5.
As Paul McGowan, the scorer of the equaliser, put it: “There’s still a long way to go and we have to take care of our own business but I feel we are hitting form at the right time.”
It was a ferocious fightback that earned what could be a priceless point from an entertaining contest.
Dundee made a calamitous start, with central defender Genseric Kusunga nodding into his own net after just 38 seconds.
They went 2-0 down on the half-hour mark when Ryan Porteous bulleted a header home for Hibs.
The visitors could have collapsed at that point but instead they dug in got a goal back through frontman Kenny Miller a minute into first-half injury-time.
Then, to their absolute credit, the Dark Blues grabbed the equaliser three minutes after the break thanks to an excellent finish from McGowan.
The Dens men had made only one change to the line-up that kicked off the draw against St Mirren, with McGowan coming in for the injured Benjamin Kallman.
Dundee began in disastrous fashion, conceding before some of their fans had even taken their seats.
It was an absolute shocker for Kusunga, with the hapless central defender heading a ball from the right that was floated in by Daryl Horgan past his own keeper Jack Hamilton.
With eight minutes on the clock, the visitors launched an attack up the left. Calvin Miller’s low cross whizzed across the face of goal but there was no Dundee player there to convert.
Two minutes later, the Hibees had the ball in the net again via Jamie MacLaren but the flag was up for offside against Horgan.
Hibs should have been two up when new Australian international – and former Dundee man – Martin Boyle bore down on goal but somehow pulled his shot wide when it looked easier to either score himself or play in teammate Florian Kamberi for a tap-in.
Having survived that scare, Dundee came close to levelling on 18 minutes when Miller’s header off Glen Kamara’s cross had to pushed away by keeper Adam Bogdan.
Hamilton flapped at a cross at the other end of the park on 28 minutes, causing mayhem inside the Dundee box. There was relief when Cammy Kerr twice blocked shots from MacLaren.
The Dens goalie, though, was beaten for a second time on the half-hour when Porteous rose to home a Stevie Mallan freekick.
Mallan then flashed a long-range shot past Hamilton’s right-hand post before the Dark Blues grabbed a lifeline a minute into first-half stoppage-time.
Nathan Ralph was the creator, with the full-back’s low cross from the left poked home by veteran striker Miller from six yards to make it 2-1 at the break.
Remarkably, the second period was fewer than three minutes old when it was 2-2.
It was a brilliant effort from McGowan, who was fed by a Jesse Curran pass, left home defender Paul Hanlon standing then curled a lovely left-foot shot beyond the grasp of Hibs goalie Bogdan from 10 yards.
It was all change for the visitors now and they almost went ahead on 57 minutes when Curran raced goalwards before letting fly and bringing a fine save out of Bogdan.
A Darren O’Dea header was then held by Bogdan on 67 minutes as the Dens men continued to threaten.
Boyle nearly gave the Easter Road men the lead on 80 minutes but his low drive just missed the far post but Dundee held on for a well-earned draw.
Dundee boss Jim McIntyre felt his side could have left with more than just a draw if they had been more clinical.
He said: “I thought we obviously got off to the worst start – it was a terrible start – but I thought the reaction between that and the second goal was excellent.
“I thought we passed the ball well and got in to dangerous areas.
“Kenny (Miller) was unfortunate not to score, it was a brilliant save from Bogdan, and then we lose the second goal.
“After that we disappeared for a bit and looked fragile but we managed to get that all-important goal, to get a bit of belief back
“I saw plenty heart when we went behind against St Mirren but coming to Easter Road is a different kettle of fish.
“We had to make blocks, our goalkeeper had to make saves, that’s what happens when you play against top sides.
“But, equally, I thought we were very threatening ourselves.
“Maybe with just a bit better care in the last third of the pitch I think we could have been in again.”
Hibs manager Neil Lennon felt that the game should have been settled by half-time.
He said: “It’s symptomatic of the spell we’re going through at the minute, where we don’t put teams away.
“We’ve actually gained a place in the table, to close the gap a little bit on the teams around us, but it feels like two points dropped.
“They made us change our shape 10 minutes in to the second half because we were abject, feeling sorry for ourselves, lacking character.
“It’s frustrating but it’s part of football and we need to get back to being strong mentally, because that’s what we were good at for a long period of time.”
You certainly couldn’t accuse the Dundee players of not being mentally strong and they should just ignore what happened in Paisley and focus on the Hamilton game a week on Wednesday.