Desperate Dan was at Tannadice to cheer on Dundee United but there was nothing dandy about this result for the Tangerines.
The comic favourite added his considerable strength to the ranks of the mascots but it was no joke for him or the home fans as Motherwell won this crucial Premiership clash 3-0.
This devastating defeat leaves Mixu Paatelainen’s men an unlucky 13 points behind nearest “rivals” Kilmarnock with just 13 matches to play.
It was always going to take something remarkable to happen for them to beat relegation but it looks like even big Dan, belly filled by cow pie, can’t save them now.
United fell behind just seconds before half-time through a Stephen McManus header then Scott McDonald made it 2-0 on 72 minutes.
It was 3-0 and game well and truly over with 10 minutes left on the clock when McDonald fired a 25-yarder into the home net.
It all added up to a sad night for United.
This was probably the game when it really sunk in to all that their top-flight days are numbered.
The Tangerines had made a surprising change to their team, with no sign of Ryan Dow either in the starting line-up or on the bench.
That meant a return for Paul Dixon on the left, with John Rankin moving inside alongside Paul Paton and Guy Demel.
Motherwell made five changes, one of which saw former Scotland star James McFadden make his first start since his return to the club. Midfielder Stephen Pearson was suspended and there was a slot in the centre of the park for ex-Tannadice favourite Morgaro Gomis.
Rankin was first to threaten for the hosts on two minutes when he found space inside the box but he failed to trouble Well keeper Connor Ripley.
On seven minutes, Marvin Johnson cut in from the right for the visitors then unleashed a fierce left-foot shot that wasn’t too far away.
On 15 minutes, a cross from United’s Blair Spittal made it to Demel, who tried an overhead kick from the penalty spot that was deflected just wide for a corner.
Nice build-up play from the Tangerines on 23 minutes created space for Spittal inside the area and his shot stung Ripley’s hands before spinning away for another United corner.
Maybe it was because of the high stakes involved but the first period was a stuffy affair, with the ball spending as much time in the air as it did on the ground.
On 40 minutes a Paton pass picked out Billy Mckay for the home team but his shot from just inside the area was never troubling the Well goal.
It all went horribly wrong for United in first-half stoppage-time when they fell behind to a goal from a setpiece.
Sean Dillon conceded a freekick on the right and when McFadden sent the ball into the box McManus glanced a header past keeper Eiji Kawashima to make it 1-0 to the Steelmen.
After what was surely one of the toughest half-time talks of Paatelainen’s managerial career, the Tangerines emerged for a make-or-break second period.
On 55 minutes, United came close to levelling when a Spittal cross was headed goalwards by Rankin at the back post but the ball somehow stayed out.
The hosts then made a double substitution, bringing on Scott Fraser and debut-maker Edward Ofere for Dixon and Mckay respectively.
The Nigerian striker almost made an instant impact when the ball fell to him inside the area but his snap-shot was blocked.
Simon Murray had a low drive saved by Ripley on 61 minutes then the Tangerines squandered a golden chance.
After the Motherwell goalie flapped at a cross the ball sat up perfectly for Spittal but he could only head on to the crossbar and the opportunity was gone.
On 72 minutes they were two behind.
Paton conceded a corner and when it was floated over by Josh Law it somehow reached McDonald at the back post and the Australian took a good touch before firing into the net to break United hearts.
After a fine save from Kawashima off a Johnson strike, the visitors were toasting a treble.
It was McDonald again who did the damage on 80 minutes, this time slamming home a shot from outside the box to give the United goalie no chance and move his team a comfortable 15 points clear of United.
Dundee United: Kawashima, Dillon, Dixon (Fraser 56), Paton, Mckay (Ofere 56), Rankin, Murray, Gunning, Spittal, Donaldson, Demel (81). Subs not used: Zwick, Knoyle, Durnan, Sinama-Pongolle.
Motherwell: Ripley, Laing, Hall, Cadden, Johnson (Hammell 90), Lasley, McManus, Moult, McDonald (Fletcher 90), McFadden (Law 65), Gomis. Subs not used: Samson, Leitch, Thomas, Ainsworth.
Referee: Greg Aitken.