The misery that’s been almost this entire dreadful season was finally ended as a 10th defeat in a row on Saturday confirmed Dundee’s relegation from the Premiership.
A 1-0 loss to fellow-strugglers Hamilton Accies at Dens Park made what most have known for a good while now a confirmed fact – namely that after five years of top-flight football the Dark Blues will be returning to the Championship next term.
If long-suffering supporters have plenty reason to complain about that, no one connected with the playing side of the club has any reason to moan.
Going back to the opening day defeat at St Mirren last August and, therefore, including gaffers and players past and present, it’s painful but entirely fair to state what they’ve produced has been woefully short of what’s required to survive, never mind succeed, at Premiership level.
While no one involved could be accused of a lack of effort, the harsh truth is a record of only four wins and six draws in 36 games to date isn’t just not good enough, it’s an embarrassment.
And losing their Premiership status on the back of a unwanted club record-equalling 10th top division defeat in a row represents nothing less than humiliation.
Accordingly, it was no wonder there were some ugly scenes as Dundee fell to defeat against Accies, though it has to be said had the protests lasted longer and been louder, they would have been justified.
That they didn’t go on for a prolonged period was probably down to the fact the supporters realised long ago their team was doomed and the 4,000 or so who turned up at the weekend knew exactly what to expect.
Even so, it was not nice to see one fan storm from the directors’ box after an angry second-half exchange with managing director John Nelms.
And if the punters in the south enclosure showed their penchant for gallows humour by taunting manager Jim McIntyre with chants of “10 in a row, you’ll have to go”, that didn’t ease the pain of the afternoon’s proceedings any.
Both men had to take it on the chin and, as McIntyre was quick to raise afterwards, rightly so, because like the men out on the pitch they have not done well enough.
The 90 minutes that unfolded provided plenty evidence of that.
In one way or another, it’s their job to put out a team capable of winning matches and long before Tony Andreu’s late penalty confirmed Dundee’s fate, it was clear that was again not going to happen.
Dundee ran about a lot and had plenty of the ball but did so with little effect and seldom, if ever, looked like scoring.
Accies, on the other hand, always looked much more dangerous and, but for a string of fine saves by Senny Dieng in the Dundee goal, would have been ahead before Andreu’s 83rd-minute spot-kick bulged the back of the net.
So if, like many of the other 25 defeats in the league, in terms of scoreline this was no hammering, when it came to quality, the gulf between the sides was there for all to see.
In stating that, it cannot be forgotten that in any other season third-bottom Hamilton and second-bottom St Mirren could well have found themselves relegated by now.
To a very large extent, they’ve been saved by Dundee and that’s just another bitter pill for the Dens faithful to swallow.
As the fans headed for the exits on Saturday with heads bowed, many must wonder what pain lies in store next season.
They only had to glance over the road for a reminder the Championship is no easy league in which to succeed.