Not only did Steven Anderson's awkward slip cost his St Johnstone side the opening goal against Partick Thistle on Saturday, but the discolated thumb suffered upon landing means he now faces two months on the sidelines.
The defender turned up at McDiarmid Park yesterday in a plaster cast after enduring a sorry weekend. Kris Doolan it was who benefited from the sixth-minute slip, darting in around Alan McManus and converting from a tight angle, but Anderson now has graver concerns, namely the prospect of missing a string of vital league games in the run up to Christmas.
"I can't deny the goal was my fault because I slipped," he admitted. "I'm done bang to rights. But the injury was absolute agony, definitely the worst pain I've ever had in my life. I've broken bones before but that was nothing like this. It was just a slip but I landed the wrong way and the thumb popped out. All I know is that it was sore. I'll watch it back to see exactly what happened."
He might have to watch wincing through his fingers. After failed, painful attempts on the park by both the team physio and doctor to pop the offending digit back in - "it wasn't happening" - he was taken to Perth Royal Infirmary. Once again, there was nothing that could be done, and the next stop on his oddysey was Dundee, where resides a surgeon who doubles as a hand specialist.
"He gave me a few local injections," revealed Anderson. "But I could still feel it and he wasn't able to fix it. So they knocked me out and apparently spent an hour trying to sort it before deciding they need to open me up. I was told it was a real mess. There's a lot of damage, ligaments and tendons. When I woke up I thought it would only be a few weeks out because it's just a thumb . . ."
The doctor, though, was more cautious and, wary of the need to stabilise the thumb - in case it popped out again - he instead prescribed a two-month lay-off. "I was shocked," said Anderson. "Hopefully, I'll be back before then but we'll just have to wait and see. The one good thing is that we've got the international break coming up so that takes two week out of it."
Footballers are rarely a sympathetic bunch, and instead of the grapes and flowers one might expect to be sent to the stricken 27-year-old patient, the Perth dressing room instead generously agreed to cobble up enough to buy a giant foam hand. "I wouldn't expect the lads here to show any sympathy," he said. "It's not that kind of dressing room. I heard they all had a good laugh about it and I've read what they've said about me. But to be fair, if it was someone else I'd probably be giving it to them as well. I can't complain."
Tommy Wright, his manager at McDiarmid Park, recently labelled Anderson one of Scottish football's biggest moaners. "There hasn't been much sympathy for him but Ando would expect that," revealed Wright. "The lads are saying that they gave him laughing gas - and he still didn't laugh!" For once, though, the Victor Meldrew of Perth has a worthy reason to gripe and sigh.
Wright turned serious. "The operation took three hours," he revealed. "Our physio is going to speak to a rugby colleague and see what they've got to say because I'd imagine they experience these kind of injuries more often than you get them in football. They've said he is out for two months but maybe he'll be able to get a cast that's light enough to let him play. He's a tough lad and he'll want to be back as quickly as possible."
Meanwhile, someone else has a chance to step into his shoes and stake a claim to the vacated first-team place. It's a cutthroat business.
Perhaps St Johnstone fans might give him more sympathy should they spot their sidelined hero trudging aimlessly around the cold streets of Perth. With his new giant foam hand on, he'll stick out like a . . . well, you know the rest.