We all love a Christmas miracle and, in football terms, Dundee’s remarkable comeback victory over Hearts was as close as you’ll get to one.
The visitors went two-up just three minutes into the second half under the Friday night lights at Dens Park but, when it came to taking anything from this game, for the Dark Blues it wasn’t so much as case of “oh no they won’t” as there seemed no way they could.
Because the truth was, after 48 minutes of quite abysmal play, Paul Hartley’s men were extremely lucky to be just a couple of goals adrift of the opposition.
Afterwards, the manager himself admitted his team could have been dead and buried in a first half that saw them almost completely dominated.
A goal down in just three minutes to a Jamie Walker penalty, that they were not two or three more behind by the interval had everything to do with missed Jambo chances and not with any resolute attempt by the home side to get back in the game.
But since battling off the bottom of the Premiership in October, if there’s one thing these Dundee players haven’t lacked it’s character.
They showed it in spades as they clawed their way back from going 2-0 down to Callum Paterson’s header.
Five minutes or so after that goal, skipper Darren O’Dea pulled one back when he blasted home from 10 yards.
For all the travails that went before, the way the home players grabbed the ball and raced back to the halfway line for the restart told that none of them thought the game was over.
They’d grabbed the momentum and, while Hearts still managed to get forward at regular intervals for the rest of proceedings, there was no question Dundee were in the ascendency.
The introduction of Paul McGowan for Mark O’Hara just before that goal was a major factor in that.
It was fitting the Dee midfielder produced the strike that levelled the scores on 71 minutes.
By then there had been a seven-minute break in play because of a neck injury that led to Hearts’ Don Cowie being stretchered off.
Other stoppages meant referee Kevin Clancy played nine minutes of time added on and in was three minutes into that the winner came.
Tom Hateley clipped in an excellent free-kick that Marcus Haber headed home, though not without help from a big touch off the head of Hearts’ Paterson as the ball flew towards goal.
As the back of the net bulged, not too many home fans cared who’d got the final touch.
Having booed their team off at the break, and rightly so, they were now literally dancing with delight.
What should not be forgotten in the euphoria of such a fightback was it was only needed because the performance for the first 48 minutes had been so poor.
And repeats of the shambles of that spell will certainly lead to more defeats than victories in the crucial months that lie ahead.
To their credit, however, even in their delight at securing a win that took them up to seventh in the table on the final whistle, both manager and players recognised the play in a large chunk of this game was not up to the required standard.
So long as they show the character of the past few months and the application of the final 40 minutes or so, there has to be reason to believe the remainder of the season can see more good days than bad.