It’s been a worrying week for Dundee fans as, despite an encouraging performance at Hearts, they’ve seen their team fall to the bottom of the Premiership for the first time since they returned to the top flight just over two seasons ago.
The Dark Blues are holding up the table after managing just one win in the first nine league games.
If there is a blessing in that statistic, it’s the fact it shows there is a long way to go before anything is decided and plenty of time for manager Paul Hartley and his players to get things at Dens Park back on track.
There is, though, no good time to be bottom. If Dundee need a reminder of that they can look back no further than to this time last year at the predicament city neighbours Dundee United landed in.
And, as they look for a solution to their problems, lessons can be learned from how the Tangerines failed to find their own answers.
The Tannadice men hit bottom following defeat at Partick Thistle in early October, just one game after deciding the way to halt their slide was via a change of manager.
At the time, and after a string of top-six finishes and cup final appearances, the general feeling in the wider game was United were simply too good a team to go down.
The months that followed would show the folly of such thinking and those reasonably close to events at Tannadice had known for some time on the park this was a team in crisis.
Tactically, and in terms of morale, United were a squad in disarray and those who were worried the results that led them to 12th spot that day at Firhill were a sign of deep-rooted problems would be proved right.
To be fair to the team over the road, like their closest rivals were a year ago, Dundee have been struggling to cope with the loss of key players. However, in terms of organisation and level of performance, right now they appear considerably more stable.
There’s no indication of the manager losing his way or his players’ confidence and that explains why, despite this now being the kind of position that leads to speculation over the future of the man who picks the team, there have been no serious calls for Hartley’s head.
Indeed, both the display against high-flying Hearts and Celtic a fortnight earlier suggest if Dundee can add goals there’s not a lot wrong.
And it cannot be forgotten what a disaster United’s decision to replace Jackie McNamara with Mixu Paatelainen proved to be.
Of course, had they gone for current incumbent Ray McKinnon, whose rebuilding has been impressive, things may have been different.
In Hartley, though, Dundee have a man who remains focused on the job at hand and gives every impression of knowing what he has to do to bring about the necessary improvement.
Also in their favour is that while they’ve slipped to last after a run of games that included clashes with Celitc, Hearts and Aberdeen, United faced that trio immediately after hitting rock bottom.
That served to leave them cast adrift, whereas Dundee are sniffing a chance to make rapid progress up the table if they hit form in meetings with St Johnstone, Partick and Hamilton.
As mentioned, the past couple of showings give reason for belief points can be picked up from those outings.
If they’re not, a worrying period will become a full-blown crisis and a long, hard winter will be looming.