Everybody knows appearances can be deceiving.
That can sometimes come as a pleasant surprise.
On the flip side of the coin, it can be incredibly frustrating – as St Johnstone fans are discovering.
There has been lots for the Saints support to enjoy about their team this season.
Callum Davidson’s side are controlling matches, retaining plenty of possession and working the ball regularly into the wide areas from which they prefer to launch attacks.
None of that is accidental.
They are clearly a very well coached side – a fact other Premiership managerial teams have remarked upon both publicly and in private.
In many ways, Saints look like a stick-on top six outfit.
But their lack of killer instinct in the final third, which was dismissed as an anomaly – then a series of anomalies – earlier in the season, is looking worryingly like it could morph into a concrete characteristic.
In two notable attacking categories, the Perth side are duking it out for supremacy with the league’s top teams.
When it comes to racking up shots on goal, it’s no surprise to see Rangers and Celtic streaking ahead of the Premiership pack.
But St Johnstone’s third place ranking shows how effectively they have worked to carve out shooting opportunities.
Up to now, Saints have averaged almost 11 shots per-game in the league.
However, with only 23.3% of them hitting the target (fewer than three per-game), they are sending a greater percentage high and wide of the mark than ANY of their top flight rivals.
Similarly, when it comes to crosses, Saints are offering up a top-end-of-the-table contribution.
Their total of 273 crosses is the second highest in the Premiership, behind only Rangers, and 43 clear of Livingston in third place.
The effectiveness of delivering crosses as a means to hitting the net is a separate debate, but the point in this case is that St Johnstone are clearly doing so deliberately.
Their players are carrying out the foundational instructions laid out by their coaches – and doing so very well indeed.
Their 3-4-3 system is the bedrock, the personnel are comfortable within it, and everything is pretty much working as Callum Davidson would wish – right up until his team reaches the final third.
As with shots on goal, Saints’ accuracy rating from crosses is at odds with their high-volume production rate.
Only Dundee United have seen a greater percentage of cross balls miss the mark this season.
Given all the positives to Saints’ play, their failure to convert more of the opportunities they are creating – or even to work opposition goalkeepers more regularly – will be a point of focus at McDiarmid Park.
Subjecting the Perth side to the “eye test” in their Betfred Cup stalemate with Dundee United on Tuesday night bore the stats out.
Albeit with a number of changes to the side, Saints had a decent grip of the game and worked themselves a number of openings – at least one of them golden – to break the deadlock against a typically stubborn Dundee United.
They were denied by a combination of Deniz Mehmet in the Tangerines’ goal and some decidedly ropey finishing, then saw United claim a shootout bonus point.
Let’s not overstate things – there is no need for panic.
In fact, there is far more happening on the field for Saints that’s worthy of praise than warrants criticism.
Taking my journalist’s hat off for a second and replacing it with my St Johnstone fan’s 10-gallon, I certainly can’t recall a top flight Saints side controlling games as regularly as this one has.
They have been great to watch in that sense.
But that’s where the frustration comes in – because they have let themselves down in front of goal too often for it to be classed as bad luck.
The intent has been there. The execution has not.
If St Johnstone hope to do themselves justice this season, that is where they must sharpen up.