Dundee United manager Ray McKinnon has vowed to solve the mystery of why his team fades so badly in games.
The Tangerines have picked up the exceedingly annoying habit of having matches apparently sewn up before visibly dropping off the pace.
This 2-2 draw against in-form Raith Rovers was the worst example of the Championship season so far, with United looking to be in complete control thanks to a great goal from Willo Flood on 17 minutes and a Cammy Smith spotkick on 23 minutes.
Even the most optimistic of Raith supporters must have feared the worst at that point as wave after wave of tangerine attacks headed towards the Kirkcaldy side’s goal.
However, Rovers blasted their way back into the match thanks to Jordan Thompson’s spectacular volley six minutes before half-time.
The visitors then deservedly equalised through another great strike, this time from Kevin McHattie on 72 minutes.
Thus this clash was turned on its head, leaving McKinnon an unhappy and slightly puzzled man.
He said: “From 2-0 up we should see it out.
“So I am disappointed with the second half in particular.
“We are playing some unbelievable football at times but we are not doing it for 90 minutes. We are doing it for 45.
“That was a prime example, being two up and in cruise control.
“I think the players thought the game was won and got a wee bit slack.
“It was an incredible strike from the guy (Thompson) to get them back into it.
“However, we should still have seen the game out at 2-1 and I am disappointed we didn’t take the three points.
“Fair play to Raith, though, because it was another brilliant strike from them to draw level.
“But we were playing so well and have dropped two points, really.
“I get to see more and more of my players every game, to see their traits and what they have in the locker.
“I know we have only played four games in the league season but they have to learn.
“They have to concentrate for 90 minutes and had they done that they would have won the game.
“I will get to the bottom of it.
“We just looked a bit stretched at the back and I don’t know if that a nervousness or what.”
United were unchanged for the side that started the 3-0 win over Ayr United the previous Saturday.
That meant there was no place for new arrival Frank van der Struijk, with the club confirming that the Dutchman has agreed a one-year deal.
Thankfully for Raith, a goalkeeping crisis was averted by the arrival of Northern Irishman Conor Brennan.
The former Kilmarnock shot-stopper was thrown straight in from the start after the deal was done in the morning.
The last league meeting between these teams was back on Mar 22, 1997 when United won 2-1 at Tannadice. In the home team that day was a certain Ray McKinnon.
There was controversy on seven minutes when United’s Smith went down in the box after being played in by Simon Murray.
Home fans shouted for a penalty for a foul by McHattie but not only did referee Craig Thomson say no to the spotkick he booked Smith for simulation.
On 13 minutes, Brennan was the hero for Rovers when he saved from Murray, with the follow-up shot from Flood blocked.
Scott Fraser then should have done better with a header at the back post when found by a Jamie Robson cross from the left but he miscued.
United got the goal their fine play deserved on 17 minutes.
Fraser floated a freekick in from the right aimed at Nick van der Velden but Raith defender McHattie headed the ball away.
It only got as far as Flood 20 yards out, though, and he blasted a low right-foot shot into the net to give Brennan no chance.
Raith tried to battle back on 20 minutes and Lewis Vaughan’s freekick from outside the box cleared United keeper Cammy Bell’s bar by a few inches.
However, it was 2-0 to the hosts on 23 minutes and this time it was definitely a penalty.
As Flood tried to tee up another shot inside the box, he was challenged by Raith’s Declan McManus, who wrapped his legs around the Irishman.
Ref Thomson agreed with the claims this time and Smith stepped up to slot the ball home.
On the half-hour, Benedictus got himself in a muddle just outside his own box and was caught in possession by Murray. The ball was then played to Van der Velden but thankfully for Raith and their player the flag went up for offside or it might well have been 3-0.
McHattie came close when his shot was deflected just past the post before Rovers got a glorious goal back.
It was an absolute cracker from 16 yards, with Thompson pouncing to volley home with his left foot after Bell had punched away a Vaughan freekick.
It nearly got even better for Raith three minutes after the break when United’s Coll Donaldson made a mess of a supposed clearance. The loose ball bounced towards McManus with his back to goal and he tried an overhead kick that Bell did well to block.
The Fife side had clawed their way right back into the match and were now causing United real problems.
The hosts threatened on 64 minutes, though, when Smith sprung forward from midfield and tried to play Murray clean through on goal but the United frontman couldn’t wriggle clear.
Murray was replaced by Tope Obadeyi on 67 minutes, while Raith introduced Rudi Skacel and Mark Stewart from the bench in place of Thompson and Vaughan two minutes later.
It was the visitors who were dominating the play now and it was no surprise that they levelled on 72 minutes.
With the United players falling further and further back, the ball broke to McHattie just outside the box and he let fly with a brilliant left-foot strike that gave Bell no chance.
Three minutes later Brennan did well to block a Van der Velden angled drive as United tried to regain the lead.
However, the Tangerines were left to pay the price for a flat second half display as Rovers left with a point that was the least they deserved in the end.