As Kilmarnock's players celebrated their second win in a row with the home support, the forlorn figure of Brad McKay spoiled the scene. The Hearts youngster was hunkered down on the sodden turf, overcome by emotion and the elements as he attempted to block out reality by burying his face deep within his rain-soaked hands.
But despite the efforts of the 20-year-old to avert his gaze, there are no more places to hide for this ensemble of inexperienced proteges and modest spattering of over-stretched veterans. The defiant mood which has buoyed the Tynecastle club so far now seems to have finally run out, the blind optimism of their support being washed away by the Rugby Park deluge in this 2-0 reverse.
While being on the end of a negative result is nothing new to Gary Locke and his team, being completely outplayed and, most importantly, outfought for most of this meeting proved more troublesome for a team now 15 points adrift at the foot of the SPFL Premiership, the same margin they faced at the start of this extraordinary campaign.
"I don't think we can forget about it," said Danny Wilson, the Hearts captain, bravely trying to pull a positive from the defeat. "We need to use it to make sure we don't play that badly again. People have built up the last couple of games when we've played St Mirren and Kilmarnock and we've just not delivered and that's a disappointment for us. If we look at it we're just as worse off as we were at the start of the season. It's not ideal but it could be worse."
Indeed it could, but in truth it's hard to see how. The galling level of their performance on Saturday suggests the task of pulling the Edinburgh club out of the mire is a burden weighing too heavily on fledgling shoulders. Locke's team were similarly taken apart before the international break by St Mirren at Tynecastle, before they conspired to surrender a goal-lead at Fir Park last week to allow Motherwell a platform to inflict yet another beating.
Ryan Stevenson's exit due to injury after 20 minutes on Saturday ended any chance of reversing their fortunes. The resultant lack of experience up front caused the visitors to look rudderless in attack as replacements Callum Paterson and Jamie Walker struggled to give them relief.
"Any other situation you'd want to bring youngsters into a winning team but unfortunately we are where we are," said Wilson, who has pinpointed Wednesday's League Cup quarter-final at Easter Road as the potential catalyst to recover an ever-increasing desperate situation. "The young boys have applied themselves well but we've been found wanting in the last few games, as a collective not just the youth players. They are first-team players now, we don't get on their backs. We won't get ourselves too down, we have a big week ahead."
Hearts' need for a resurgence was emphasised on Saturday by one man who is currently enjoying his own revival. Kris Boyd proved yet again his worth to Kilmarnock with a display of supreme professionalism and class. The former Scotland striker demonstrated a predatory instinct twice to beat the offside trap and eventually Jamie MacDonald to earn his team a win which elevates them to 10th in the table.
But it was his work away from the penalty box which demonstrated how much the forward has matured as a player. His endeavour was highlighted by one moment in the second period when he slid along the turf to intercept a through pass on the half-way line, leapt to his feet to kill the ball as it spun back down before playing a fine arced through pass away to Chris Johnston for a breakaway.
"In training he [Boyd] is always wanting the best from you; he just likes a moan now again," explained the 19-year-old winger. "He just hates being beaten; if you lose and make a couple of mistakes he'll let you know. For young players your performances are going to be quite up and down, but you need the experience players next to you like Sammy Clingan, Manuel Pascali, Boydy, to keep you going in case you make any slack mistakes."
A fact Hearts know only too well.