As the dust settles on a disappointing opening-day result against Dunfermline at Tannadice, a few moments’ calm reflection could lead to the conclusion all this Dundee United squad needs to be Championship contenders is a little time and patience.
Give Csaba Laszlo’s rebuilt squad a few more weeks to gel and they could be a strong force at this level.
And a little patience during those weeks to forgive mistakes that are probably inevitable would help with that process.
So much for the theory, now for the harsh reality. It can be summed up with the following words – tough luck, because both are going to be in short supply.
When it comes to the first, the fact is the time to be ready for any league season is on day one.
At the weekend, United were not and that’s why, despite losing out to the odd goal in five, they were comprehensively beaten by a Pars outfit that was ready for action while they were found lacking.
In pointing that out, it’s worth remembering that, although Dunfermline’s wasn’t quite to the same extent, over the summer circumstances meant they were forced to undertake a major overhaul of their squad that saw players leave and 10 new faces brought in.
That was not least because they lost two of their key performers, Nicky Clark and Fraser Aird, to the Tangerines. Despite that, particularly during the second half of the weekend game, the visitors looked a strong and cohesive unit that was sound at the back and dangerous going forward.
By way of contrast, the longer the game went on the more disjointed United became.
However valid the reasons for that may be, the rest of the Championship is not going to sit back and give them time to get their act together.
In Dumfries this weekend it’s more than reasonable to expect Queen of the South to do all they can to come out of the blocks quickly, hit United hard and early and try to stay on top of them.
That’s just common sense and an approach that’s to be expected from the opposition for weeks to come, if not longer.
Put simply, when a team looks as vulnerable as Csaba Laszlo’s do, they are going to be tested early in games and it’s only by winning matches they can expect opponents to start cautiously.
As for patience, something being sought from fans, there has to be a realisation that among Arabs it’s not so much worn thin as disintegrated.
A support that’s been used to top-six finishes in the Premiership and cup final appearances, has been put through hell and are now facing a third season out of the top flight.
So much so that when new chairman Mike Martin addresses them, he often starts off with an apology, and wisely so.
Through no fault of their own, supporters have been stuck in a long dark tunnel and, if they cannot see any light at the end of it, they cannot be asked to show understanding.
Make no mistake about it, their team is where it is because results dictate that’s their true position in Scottish football.
But when they look at where Dundee United have been and the lingering perception of it as a size of club, the very least Arabs have a right to expect is a side that’s challenging to get back up.
Some 5,000 of them turned up for the league opener and gave yet another indication of where United could be.
No other clubs outside of the Old Firm, Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs can rely on that kind of turn-out on a Saturday.
If this team don’t start producing, they’ll not be able to either.