As he trudged off the park at Dumbarton, it appeared that Mark Durnan could do nothing right for Dundee United.
As he danced around celebrating at Tannadice on Saturday, it seemed the same player could do nothing wrong for the Tangerines.
It all looked so bleak for Durnan on that fateful August 13 day as he conceded the penalty that gave the Sons a 1-0 win and sent United’s travelling support into despair.
His daft foul on Greg Buchanan that led to Mark Docherty’s spotkick winner put the tin hat on a dismal display from both player and team.
Slowly but surely, though, Durnan has come right back into manager Ray McKinnon’s plans.
He returned to the heart of the defence after suspension against Falkirk on Saturday and was the goal hero as he slammed the ball home from eight yards to finish off a sweeping move that he had started.
Jubilant supporters chanted his name and it was great to see someone who has had his fair share of troubles in tangerine grab the glory in such dramatic fashion.
It all seemed so far away from that grim afternoon in the shadow of Dumbarton Rock and Durnan was delighted he was able to repay McKinnon for sticking by him.
“When you are out of the team watching from the stand as I was the other week you worry whether or not the manager will keep faith in you,” said Durnan.
“I’m delighted he did so and I was looking to repay him on the pitch.
“I think he was happy with the way things were going before I got the ban and he wanted to keep a similar team.”
His boss couldn’t resist a tongue-in-cheek question aimed at Durnan – “What was he doing up there?” – but McKinnon was understandably delighted with his defender.
McKinnon said: “Fair play to Mark for that goal.
“It was his interception that started the move and he found himself in the box and finished well.
“It was thoroughly deserved and it capped what was an excellent performance from him and great result for us.”
It wasn’t such an enjoyable afternoon for former Tannadice gaffer Peter Houston, of course.
The Falkirk boss said: “It’s a disappointing day.
“You don’t always get what you deserve in football.
“It was a close game and quite entertaining for what was a 0-0 for so long.
“But they scored from us giving the ball away outside their box cheaply.
“We had been putting pressure on them but they counter-attacked and Durnan clears it and actually carries on his run, before it falls kindly for him.”
This Tannadice tussle was a tight one but, thanks to their big defender, United just deserved the three precious points.
The Tangerines had made only the one change to the team that started the win against Dumbarton but it was crucial, with Durnan coming back from suspension to replace Coll Donaldson in defence.
The hosts made a bright start, spreading the ball around the pitch, but their first effort on goal was a shot from distance from Paul Dixon on 11 minutes that flew wide.
Former Tannadice favourite John Rankin hooked a strike past for the Bairns a minute later then, as the match warmed up, United’s Tony Andreu stung the hands of keeper Danny Rogers with a well-hit shot.
On 25 minutes, the home side had a strong appeal for a penalty turned down after another ex-United man, David McCracken, pulled back Nick van der Velden inside the box. It looked like a lucky escape for the Bairns.
Andreu was then sent clear by a brilliant defence-splitting pass from Charlie Telfer but goalie Rogers came out to block.
Up at the other end, the dangerous Craig Sibbald had two goes at the United goal before the half-time whistle blew.
The Tangerines made a tactical switch at the break, with Tope Obadeyi going up front in place of Van der Velden.
On 49 minutes, United came the closest yet to opening the scoring when Scott Fraser picked the ball up outside the area then let fly with a shot that just cleared the bar.
Just a minute later, there was another near-thing when Frank van der Struijk flashed a header wide after being found by a Fraser cross.
United hearts were in mouths on 60 minutes when Van der Velden was short with a header back to keeper Cammy Bell but Luke Leahy could only kick the loose ball into the goalie’s arms.
McKinnon then made a double change, bringing on Simon Murray and Smith for Van der Velden and Obadeyi.
William Edjenguele headed over for United on 65 minutes before Fraser had a shot spilled by Rogers, with Murray trying unsuccessfully to sneak in the loose ball from the tightest of angles.
Andreu then sent a header past on 72 minutes after he was picked out by a delivery from Van der Struijk.
The home team then made it 1-0 10 minutes later thanks to Durnan.
The defender intercepted a Falkirk pass at the edge of his own box then raced forward into the Bairns’ half. He clipped the ball forward to sub Smith, who then played it right to Fraser.
Fraser fired the ball across and Smith tried to shoot but was blocked and Durnan nipped in to smash a right-foot shot into the net from eight yards.
Falkirk had a couple of chance to level in injury-time but a brilliant block from Edjenguele got in the way of sub Bob McHugh’s strike, then ex-United striker Lee Miller crashed a shot off the post only for the flag to go up for offside.