If there is one comfort at the end of this laborious season, it is in what it says about the elevation of Aberdeen’s standards.
This was the third season in the last 12 in which the club’s all-time record for the fewest goals in a league campaign has been equalled.
In each of the other two, that pitiful return of below one per game was only enough to pull the Dons as high as ninth in the league; yet in both cases, the manager who had occupied Pittodrie’s home dugout on that season’s first day was still there for the next.
The goals-to-points conversion rate of 2020-21 was so vastly different as to ride that paltry strike rate all the way into Europe, but still fell far short of what Aberdeen will accept these days. Points totals and league positions which, in the jarringly recent past, would have been a pipe dream have become a sacking offence.
But the conclusive levelling-up which has been experienced at Pittodrie must equally serve as a warning. Gruelling though this past season has been, anybody who is under the impression that it was as bad as it could possibly get for Aberdeen has a short memory.
Yes, the relative financial strength of the club within the division is healthier now than then, but though that will always remain the chief determinant of success in modern football, it is not a cast iron guarantee.
It will take major work – and likely many new faces – to halt the gathering momentum of what has been a gradual three-year slide. If such a barricade can be constructed then it can act as a springboard for Aberdeen to bounce back quickly.
But, if the building is not strong enough, there is plenty of slope yet before the bottom comes into view.