As we approach the season of goodwill, it is time for Dundee United fans to acknowledge the fine job Micky Mellon is doing at Tannadice.
The manager has been a mixture of realist and romantic this season, reminding everyone of how the in-transition Tangerines have just come up to the Premiership while also holding out hope of doing the club and its tradition proud in the top flight.
With no fans allowed into the matches because of the coronavirus, who knows what the supporters are making of it all.
The only wee clue you get is from the thin slice of the fanbase that inhabits social media.
To put it mildly, not every decision he has taken has been greeted with delight, including the one to list Scotland striker Lawrence Shankland as a substitute against Hamilton Accies on Saturday.
Neither has the defensive approach been left unscrutinised by those unhappy at a perceived lack of creativity in the team.
Even in this weird world we live in, though, facts still trump argument and opinion.
The table tells us United sit in fifth spot and have secured 20 points from 15 Premiership games.
Sides below them have fixtures in hand but won’t win them all.
How do we judge 20 from 15?
Previous seasons compared
Well, when United went down to the Championship in 2015-16 they had collected only eight points at the same stage and were already six adrift at the foot of the table.
Ah but that was a one-off, top-flight horror show of a season, I hear you say.
OK, how about 2010-11 then? That was the league campaign that followed United’s second Scottish Cup win.
After 15 games they had accumulated, you guessed it, 20 points but were only in seventh place in the league under Peter Houston.
There are also serious mitigating circumstances to consider for Mellon and his players.
Top of the list is Covid-19 and the financial tsunami that has hit all clubs.
United owner Mark Ogren has informed the Tannadice squad there must be pay cuts and things could get messy. Hardly an ideal, carefree work environment.
Decent results keep coming
Yet, the decent results keep coming.
Since losing to Peterhead at home in the Betfred Cup – a terrible defeat that ultimately cost them qualification in that competition – they have gone seven matches unbeaten.
They have won three and drawn four, while conceding only two goals – both of which came in matches they actually won.
United are not easy on the eye at times but can those who have been doubting Mellon and his methods really make a convincing prosecution case against him?
The answer, your honour, has to be no.
Also, what if everything actually does click into place up front? Nicky Clark is already doing his bit but what if Shankland starts firing again and Marc McNulty gets a few? How far could that take them?
Of course, there may be trouble ahead and we don’t yet have a satisfactory resolution to the salary talks, for example.
However, pitchside and on the park, Mellon and his men are doing better than OK and it is time to accept that as truth.