Dundee welcome Ayr United to Dens Park this weekend as the form team in the Championship and with optimism high for what 2021 might bring.
Rewind just eight weeks, however, and the Dark Blues were in a pit of despair with senior players berating performances in the media.
That was after their last meeting with the Honest Men where a slapstick opening half-hour saw them fall 2-0 behind and stumble to a poor defeat.
Hearts were flying at the top of the table, Dundee had just one win from their opening five league games and had been on the receiving end of 6-2 and 4-1 hammerings in Edinburgh.
Many fans had had enough of James McPake as manager and were desperate for a new man in charge.
It wasn’t a long time ago, though it may feel like it at Dens Park.
How have they turned things around in such a short space of time?
Paul McGowan and Charlie Adam certainly made their feelings known loud and clear after that 2-0 loss at Somerset Park when speaking to the media.
McGowan’s in particular was an astonishing five-minute rant following a benign question: “What are your thoughts?”
Not leaving himself immune from the criticism, the brutal honesty of the midfielder’s interview resonated with fans and no doubt with team-mates alike.
Adam’s was more measured but no less powerful as a senior player who has played at the top level for so long saying “this isn’t what I signed up for”.
That’s what was said in the public sphere – in private there were much more important conversations going on.
Those two interviews may have had some effect but it was a team meeting on the Monday morning that has since energised the team.
What was said has since remained private but it’s clear management and players all had their say, laid everything on the table and asked themselves what they could do to change things.
It cleared the air and almost immediately there was a change on the pitch, even if the next match – in the Betfred Cup – ended in a 1-0 loss at Hibs.
The Dark Blues have not tasted defeat since.
The ignominious Ayrshire trip saw debuts for goalkeeper Adam Legzdins and central defender Liam Fontaine, both brought in on free transfers.
Former Burnley and Birmingham man Legzdins may not have enjoyed his opening appearance too much, with his first job as a Dundee goalkeeper to pick the ball out of the net.
Since then it’s not been plain sailing either with a troublesome calf injury keeping him out of action.
However, the experienced keeper coming in may have sparked resident Dens No 1 Jack Hamilton into form with the former Scotland squad man putting in some excellent performances in recent weeks.
The addition of Fontaine, though, has clearly had a real effect on the fortunes of the Dark Blues.
The final 12 minutes against Dunfermline aside, the former Bristol City and Hibs defender has been an assured presence in the backline since arriving.
The experienced centre-back has also done his bit at the top end as well, scoring three goals in his short time at Dens Park – his best goalscoring season ever in his 16-year career to date.
Since that Ayr debacle, Dundee’s form has been LWDDWWWW.
There might have been disappointment in drawing at home to Dunfermline after racking up a three-goal lead.
However, 14 points from a possible 18 has propelled the Dark Blues back into the reckoning at the top of the table.
Hearts do have a bit of breathing room still with five points and a game in hand to their advantage over Dundee.
Despite that, this weekend is an opportunity to keep the wins coming and try to put some sort of pressure on the Jambos and Dunfermline.
More than that, though, facing Ayr once more is a chance of redemption for the 2020/21 Dundee team.
It is an opportunity to show what they are really made of.