There were no goals and few chances but Dundee United could take a little bit of encouragement from their draw at Falkirk.
This point was certainly more welcome than the one rescued from Dumbarton at Tannadice the previous Saturday.
The Tangerines bossed this match against the Bairns for long spells but suffered from a severe lack of cutting edge.
The home side – anxious in possession at times and with their fans on their backs when mistakes were made – were there for the taking.
You suspected that had United gotten a goal then they would have gone on to win fairly comfortably against a struggling Falkirk team yet to record a victory in the Championship this season.
That they didn’t do so was disappointing and frustrating for the 900-plus support that travelled through on Saturday.
Also, a goals comparison with league leaders Dunfermline makes sorry reading for Ray McKinnon’s men, with United’s five scored in six league matches looking scrawny up against the Pars’ 18.
Nevertheless, coming on the back on a dreadful display against the Sons this match made for much more enjoyable viewing.
It must also come as a relief to the Tangerines to look at the Championship table and see themselves just two points off the top.
Their play up until the final third against the Bairns was pretty good and when (they can’t afford it to be an if) it clicks in attack then United should gather a head of steam.
Defender Lewis Toshney certainly believes that will happen.
Toshney, who was in at right-back for Stewart Murdoch, said: “I thought the performance was there.
“We had chances but I think a draw, in the end, is probably a fair result for both sides.
“We also got a clean sheet and we have not had many of those so we will take it.
“We have been working hard on shape and being hard to beat but, further up the park, we needed that final bit of quality.
“We do have it in the team so hopefully it will come good in the end.
“Paul McMullan hit the woodwork – to be fair, I think it was a cross – and nearly sneaked it for us.
“We didn’t really create a clear-cut chance, which was disappointing, but I feel we defended quite well.
“Overall, I think it was a good point for us.
“Falkirk will take points off a lot of teams in this league.”
Toshney admitted United have failed to impress recently but insisted they are doing their level best to sort it out.
He added: “The fans want performances and wins from us but we haven’t been good enough.
“That’s the truth.
“The gaffer has let us know it and we know it ourselves.
“Obviously, we need to put that right.
“That’s why we have been working so hard in training.
“I thought this was a better display from us even though a goal never came.
“I feel we will be fine and will start scoring goals.
“It takes time to gel but, 100%, it will come right.”
United boss McKinnon was pleased that work they had done on the training pitch to tighten up at the back paid dividends, while also lamenting the lack of bite up front.
McKinnon said: “We worked so hard all week on our defensive shape – the gaps between the backline and the midfield – and I thought the players were excellent at that.
“I think our goalkeeper have one save in the first half so defensively we did really well and were organised.
“The players did everything we asked of them in that respect.
“The only thing that is a slight negative is that didn’t have that belief in the final third.
“We didn’t have enough belief to go on and win that game and I thought it was there to be won.
“We had chances and go into some great areas but there was maybe a wee lack of confidence and a wee lack of belief.
“That will change.
“We have given ourselves a platform and that was a really solid effort from us.
“We are happy with a point but we would have liked to have won the game.
“It is a very good point because I believe Falkirk have been underperforming and their points tally tells a different story from where they should be.
“Any team coming here this season won’t find it easy.”
United’s defensive stoicism was all the more commendable considering they lost central defender Paul Quinn after just 10 minutes to injury.
McKinnon said: “He got a tooth out during the week and, unfortunately, he got a knock and felt quite disorientated.
“We had to take him off but William (Edjenguele) went on and did well so that was good.”
United were also without striker Patrick N’Koyi, who had a hamstring injury and was granted compassionate leave after a family bereavement.
N’Koyi may or may not have made a difference up front – McKinnon started with Scott McDonald and Paul McMullan in a pairing – but the chances that were created weren’t finished off.
The pick of the bunch came a minute before the end of a first half dominated by the visitors when McDonald’s diving header just cleared the Bairns’ bar.
Fraser Fyvie, Mark Durnan, Jamie Robson and Falkirk’s own Conrad Balatoni, with a hooked backpass, all threatened the home goal before McMullan smacked a cross against the bar on 82 minutes with keeper Robbie Thomson beaten.
As McKinnon admitted, the game was “there to be won” and ideally United would have secured the victory they craved.
However, at least there were good signs in this display and, despite Falkirk’s struggles this season, it is still difficult to label a draw at their stadium as a bad result.