This time last year the wheels were about to come off Dundee United’s Championship title bid.
And Billy King is determined that the festive season will be transformative for the Tangerines for a different reason 12 months later.
Defeat to St Mirren at the end of December 2017 set in motion a run of results which included just one league win before March.
It was a form loss which ended hopes of automatic promotion.
Saturday’s goalscorer in the 1-1 draw with Inverness Caley Thistle believes that there will be no such drop-off this time around – and pointed to the performance in the Highlands as a sign that United are getting back to their best.
“This is a massive time of the year for any team that wants to win a league,” King admitted.
“The draw with Ayr and Ross County benefited us but we need to concentrate on ourselves and put together a run like the one when the manager first came in.
“There is still a long way to go and it is really tight at the top but if you have a good run at this stage of the season it can be really important.
“We believe in our squad and in what we are doing.
“You can see boys getting fitter and sharper.
“The next step is killing games to get the three points so they’re not open going into the last few minutes.
“Ayr was a one off and it was disappointing to draw the week after. We resorted to kicking the ball long.
“Going back to playing through the lines was important for us.”
United fell behind to a Tom Walsh goal on 18 minutes but they created at least five excellent chances after that – four of them Pavol Safranko headers – that weren’t taken before King’s crisp low 18-yard equaliser.
The style of play was better than at Morton, the determination was there for all to see but the cutting edge needs to be sharper.
King said: “I thought we played well in the game and deserved to take three points.
“This is a really tough place to come.
“After getting the equaliser with 15 minutes to go we were hoping to go on and win it but in the end we’ll take a point.
“Now we need to make sure we get three next week.
“We had a slight dip in form but last week was a different scenario to this week.
“We didn’t play to the level we can at Morton but today I thought the performance was really good.
“We passed the ball and created a lot of chances. The manager was happier. We’ll try to keep that going and be more clinical in the final third.”
It was the same result and scoreline as seven days before but the post-match analysis of manager Robbie Neilson was totally different.
“It was disappointing not to take all three points but I was really pleased with the performance,” he reflected.
“We controlled a lot of the game and passed it quite well. That’s exactly what I asked them to do.
“When we came in at half-time 1-0 down I said to them that we were playing really well and we just need to keep doing what we’re doing and move it through the lines quickly.
“All that was needed was to be a bit more positive.
“I thought it was only a matter of time before we got a goal and the disappointing thing is we didn’t get another one after that.
“We’ll take the point and we didn’t lose any ground on the teams at the teams at the top.”
If the opposition camp admits that a point was a fair result, more often than not that’s code for “they probably actually deserved to win”.
So United should take Caley Thistle keeper Mark Ridgers’ assessment as a compliment.
“Overall, they would say they deserved a point,” he said. “They had a couple of chances, like we did.
“The frustrating side is we couldn’t see the game out, but luckily we’ve not lost any ground on anyone because all the games in the division were drawn. That’s the one bonus.
“The winning goal went through Jamie McCart’s legs. He (King) has tried to shoot with his right foot and miscontrolled it, then hit it very well with his left, to be fair.
“It was a good strike, but frustrating to lose a goal after a couple of saves in the first half to keep us in it. That was personally disappointing.”