As Scottish football had a drink in the last-chance saloon, Dundee United had to drown their sorrows as they lost for the first time this season.
A cocktail of sheer stupidity and naivety, mixed with a dash of arrogance, has left the national game at risk of having the Covid-19 shutters pulled down.
Should the bar visit by the Aberdeen and the inexplicable Spanish day trip taken by Celtic’s Boli Bolingoli contribute to time eventually being called on this new-born campaign then it would be a nightmare for everyone who loves the national game.
One more breach of the coronavirus rules and, you feel, it’s all off.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s line about it being a yellow card rather than a red may have been pre-prepared but it was powerful nonetheless.
The game, collectively, is holding its breath.
He argued that the off-field mayhem didn’t affect his preparations, saying: “No not at all. We are professionals and are expected to prepare the best way we can. We did that so we have no excuses.”
What the Tangerines didn’t do was work Hibs keeper Ofir Marciano to any significant degree, with striker Lawrence Shankland having failed to recover from his ankle problem.
Asked if they were lacking a cutting edge up front, Mellon added: “Yes but both teams were. There was nothing in it.
“In the second half, we got better at working the ball from the back and when it did get into the advanced areas we were a bit cleaner and tidier.
“There is loads to be pleased about. We have made the transition up and were playing against a team that has come out of the traps very quickly and will be seen as one of the stronger teams in the division.
“We held our own and there was little between the two sides apart from that wee moment.
“I think we can be better but we know where we have to improve.
“We know we can be a force at this level but it’s about being consistent and believing in what we do.”
Mellon had moved to a back three from the four at Fir Park, with recent signing Ryan Edwards handed his debut.
Liam Smith was missing through injury so Luke Bolton was the right-sided wing-back, while Logan Chalmers dropped to the bench as Nicky Clark returned.
There was hardly anyone in the ground but those of us who were there grimaced in unison in the sixth minute when Paul McGinn and Jamie Robson clashed heads just inside the Hibs half.
Robson was actually booked before he came off and Mellon put Adrian Sporle on in his place at left wing-back.
United had lost one of their best performers from the last two games while the match was still young.
The early stages had gone well for the home side, though, as they outnumbered the visitors in the middle of the park. The Tangerines’ pressing game was working fine but the Hibees did begin to get some joy, with a McGinn pass into the box that almost played in Martin Boyle the highlight of their first half-hour.
Shots were as rare as supporters inside the stadium but United had a go from a free-kick but Clark’s strike was deflected over for a corner.
Clark had another set-piece chance a couple of minutes later but he fired well over. There was a scare for the hosts just before the break when Mark Connolly was skinned by Kevin Nisbet as the Hibs man made his way into the box. The big Irishman pulled him back and was booked.
It was stuffy stuff and certainly not a TV treat but you felt the United players were reasonably satisfied as they walked off at half-time.
The visitors changed their formation after the restart, moving to three at the back to match United’s set-up.
After Peter Pawlett broke upfield for United, Louis Appere flashed the ball into the goalmouth but Clark failed to get a flick.
Appere had the ball in the Hibs net after Clark got in behind Boyle and found Sporle. The Argentinian was the one who was offside, not Appere, who had finished well.
Seeking creativity, Hibs drafted in former United man Scott Allan but it was the Tangerines who had the next opportunity when Ian Harkes smashed a shot wide.
Connolly had to boot clear from inside the Tangerines box after a bit of magic from Boyle before the visitors got the breakthrough on 65 minutes.
The goal game from nothing, with Josh Doig taking a wild swing at the ball which then fell to Doidge, who placed his shot past keeper Benjamin Siegrist. Doig was offside but the goal was allowed to stand by referee Don Robertson.
It was a bad break for the home side and they suffered another blow when Edwards, who had been holding his hamstring, had to go off to be replaced by 17-year-old Lewis Neilson.
Pawlett won a free-kick at the edge of the Hibs box on 78 minutes but sub Logan Chalmers’ shot hit the wall before Calum Butcher also had a strike deflected.
United twice came close to an equaliser when Connolly headed Pawlett’s corner just wide then Appere chested the ball to Pawlett, who volleyed past the post.
However, it was Hibs who got the rub of the green.