If Dundee United’s Betfred Cup exit at the group stages was painful, but by no means disastrous, it might just have come with a sting in the tail.
A careless night at Tannadice last month when they lost to part-timers East Fife was the major reason the Tangerines failed to progress.
At the time, manager Robbie Neilson felt it was no more than an unwanted blip and those thoughts have been backed up by an excellent start to the all-important league campaign that’s seen his team comfortably look the most impressive outfit in two rounds of Championship fixtures, so far.
Even missing out on a pay-day by facing Rangers in the second round – though it was by no means certain that’s how things would have panned out had they got through – was no major problem.
American owner Mark Ogren’s millions mean the loss of good gate money from one big game is not the source of angst it might have been a year or two ago.
And having last Saturday off should not be an issue either. Play-off involvement last term meant it was not a long summer for the players and pre-season was short and sharp.
After a fairly hectic month-and-a-half, even a weekend off was probably no bad thing.
What might be of concern is the fact the next two games are against sides who have to have been lifted by their weekend performances in the Betfred.
It should be said, of course, neither Saturday’s opposition Dunfermline nor next week’s derby foes Dundee, managed to win their ties but, given the standard of opposition, both will believe there are plenty positives to be taken from their performances.
The Pars headed for holders Celtic and, despite being given no chance, were just six minutes away from taking the tie to penalties.
However painful losing to James Forrest’s late strike was for his players, you can bet gaffer Stevie Crawford will be spending the build up to their home clash with United hammering home the positives of their Parkhead exploits.
They’ve drawn their opening league outings and will have been frustrated that in both they were ahead, so the feeling at East End Park that they should be sitting on at least four points, possibly six, right now is a reasonable one.
Arabs, of course, are already looking beyond the excursion to Fife and the derby on Friday week.
And Dundee, too, got a weekend lift, even though it might not have felt like it at the time.
Losing to Aberdeen after holding the lead into injury time in the 90 minutes had to be a sickener.
Had they held out for another minute or so, they would have been well worth victory.
That means, while the first thing boss James McPake will have had to do once his troops were back in training was lift heads, he’ll also have had plenty of good to point to when he did the customary video analysis.
He will be looking for the good work to continue against Inverness on Saturday and, if it does, that should set up a cracking derby.
For their part at East End Park, United will be looking to continue their perfect start and it is a happy hunting ground for them.
That will be their only concern and defender Mark Connolly stresses that has to be the focus in the Tannadice dressing-room. Do that, he feels, and United should not have to worry too much about opposition form.
“All we can do is worry about ourselves,” said the Irishman.
“When a lot of us came in at the end of January it was one of those things where it was catch-up play for us and we had to try to gel quickly.
“Now we’ve had a pre-season we have a settled squad and we know if we do focus on our game, we can reach our target this season.”