When St Johnstone saw off Hearts less than a fortnight ago it was with a throwback performance to seasons gone by that would have got Perth fans all nostalgic.
When they were well beaten by Hibs on Saturday it was with a throwback performance to a much more recent and worrying period in the club’s history – the early months of this campaign.
Gone was the solidity, control and concentration that ended Craig Levein’s managerial reign at Tynecastle and back was the suicidal defending that characterised Saints’ slump to the bottom of the table.
The hope is that the return to the bad old days is a short-lived one.
“It was back to what we were doing before the last two matches,” admitted midfielder David Wotherspoon.
“In those games we managed to cut the mistakes out but it was back to old habits again.
“Our performance wasn’t that bad but we conceded silly goals. It has been happening far too much this season.
“We have been too open and easy to play against and it is causing us to concede things.”
It’s never good when you reflect on an encouraging start to a game that lasts a mere minute-and-a-half.
That was all it took for Saints’ early show of intent to turn to dust.
A long ball forward was followed by a Jason Kerr slip and Christian Doidge scoring after an initial save from Zander Clark came back to him.
Scott Tanser should have got closer to Florian Kamberi as he crossed for Doidge’s second and it was game over shortly after the break when Matty Kennedy coughed up possession in midfield, with Scott Allan allowed to run unchallenged into the box to finish.
The fourth was a Doidge header for his hat-trick and Stevie May grabbed a 90th minute consolation.
“When they got the goal so early you could see it gave them confidence,” said Wotherspoon.
“We had actually started on the front foot and we forced them back and we were in their end of the park.
“They were under pressure then they counter on us and go up the park and score.
“The goal actually comes from one of our boys slipping and that makes it worse. It gave them the confidence and they went on the ascendancy.
“On another day they might not score. Zander made a great save with the first one and it could have gone anywhere but it has fallen nicely for the boy to put it away.
“We had to try and get ourselves back in the game but then we shoot ourselves in the foot again and it left us as a mountain to climb.
“At the start of the second half, I think it is another mistake and it cost us another goal.
“We need to cut out the mistakes. We were hard to play against in the two matches before this and we need to get back to that. It was too easy for Hibs to get through us and make chances.”
The recurrence of old issues would appear to suggest that confidence is still fragile at McDiarmid Park.
“In football you have your ups and downs,” said Wotherspoon, who now heads off to join up with the Canada squad to play the USA.
“We came into the game with confidence but we shot ourselves in the foot again. We have to pick ourselves back up after the international break.
“It has been a stop-start season for me personally because I had an injury at the start of the season. It has been stop-start for the team as well.
“Sometimes these breaks come at a good time and sometimes they don’t.
“I think it is unfortunate we have another break as we would like to have played another game as soon as possible after that match to try and bounce back. It is just the way it works.”
The fact that Hibs were able to turn it on like this makes you wonder why they didn’t do it for sacked manager Paul Heckingbottom.
Ryan Porteous admitted: “We definitely felt guilt. The manager is there to take the hit if his team is not performing but we could have done a lot better for him. We are disappointed to see him go.
“We were five or six games unbeaten and it has been coming. It was about shutting up shop and getting that second and third goal to get over the line. Paul actually said to us before he left that he knew we were going to win today.
“He said: ‘You will go up there and win because you are good players. Try and forget about me and just go and play.’ We did what he’s been teaching us.”