It was a sign of the position Dundee United had put themselves in that they were susceptible to the sort of sucker punch that floored them at Firhill.
Had the gap between the Tangerines and Ross County been a small one going into the match, there would have been a bit more caution about their attempt to beat Partick Thistle in the dying moments.
But, as Mark Reynolds acknowledged, every game these days is win or bust for the Tannadice side.
“One point would have been inconsequential,” said the on-loan Aberdeen defender.
“We’re hunting down County and we needed the three.
“It’s a sore one take. We were throwing everything at it and we had two or three chances, as well as a stonewall penalty we weren’t given.”
It would now take a proper collapse from County to present United with a realistic shot of automatic promotion. But building form and momentum for the play-offs, with the outside chance of the Dingwall team folding, is more than enough motivation.
“We need to try and keep plugging away,” said Reynolds. “But if we can’t be first we want to make sure we finish second.
“County have been relentless and have got win after win.
“It almost felt as if we had to win every game but we’ve still got to play them twice and stranger things have happened.
“We need to find form and keep building that if it does end up being the play-offs for us.”
This weekend’s opponents, Dunfermline have now hit the sort of form United would have been wishing for. A team that wins five in a row will make life hard for a team looking to avoid three defeats in a row.
“They are one of the form teams in the league,” said Reynolds.
“Bruce Anderson is banging in goals for them and he’s a player I know all about from Aberdeen.
“It will be a tough game. They’re all tough in this league now, regardless of whether you near the top or the bottom.
“Every team has something to play for. Partick were fighting for their lives in this one and next week it’s a team trying to get into the play-offs.
“We need to find a way to win even when we’re not at our best.”
Coming from Pittodrie, Reynolds is accustomed to playing for a club with big expectations.
“There is pressure,” he said. “You can’t get away from it. But you need to embrace that pressure.
“The games are just going to get bigger and bigger. We need to stand up to that and deal with it.
“A club like this expects to be in the Premiership. Teams look on us as a scalp and have their own needs to win.”
United were caught sleeping at the end of the Inverness Caley Thistle cup tie and they weren’t switched on at the start of this contest either. A Joe Cardle diagonal ball from a long way out should never have been allowed to travel all the way to the six yard box unchallenged, where Scott McDonald had a simple headed goal.
“It was disappointing,” admitted Reynolds.
“I was aware of the boy getting time on the ball. He’s delivered the cross and none of us have managed to get a head on it.
“It’s dropped to wee Scott McDonald six yards out and he’s done what he does.
“It was a bad goal to lose.
“I thought we could have played a lot better in the first half. Once we got the equaliser in the second half we were in the ascendancy but we were made to pay for not taking our chances.”
There were second half penalty claims at both ends while the score was still 1-0. Mark Connolly wrestling McDonald was debatable but Miles Storey wiping out Jamie Robson was clear-cut.
United boss Robbie Neilson said: “I’ve no idea what the referee was doing. It’s one of the most blatant penalties you’ll see in your life. That’s what we’re dealing with sometimes with referees.
“I’m sure he’ll look back on it and see it was an absolute howler.”
The Tangerines got their equaliser soon after, though – an 18-yard Nicky Clark free-kick. Then, with players committed forward for United, Aidan Fitzpatrick finished off a slick Partick counter-attack.
There was still time left for a Pavol Safranko goal to be disallowed for offside but Neilson had no complaints about that one. Well, almost no complaints.
The Tannadice manager, who was sent to the stand at half-time, added: “It’s disappointing it was the linesman that made the decision and not the referee because we might have got that one.”
On the game as a whole, he reflected: “I’m very, very disappointed. We lost a goal early but got back into it.
“We got the equaliser and started chasing the game to get the win.
“It was like a basketball game at the end – they could have won it, we could have won it.
“We’ve got make sure we’re a bit more secure when we’ve got the ball.
“I’m disappointed that we didn’t take anything from the game.
“It’s going to be very, very difficult to try and challenge at the top after dropping those points but we’ll still aim to try and hunt down Ross County.
“We can’t give up. We need to try and build momentum. We’ve still got to play them twice so there’s an opportunity to put pressure on them.”