This time it was the grit and determination of Ross County that illuminated proceedings, their 0-0 draw away to Dundee United last night extending their proud unbeaten league run to 40 games.
The Clydesdale Bank Premier League's last experiment with Friday night football ended in darkness as an electrical fault with a floodlight caused Motherwell's match with Hibernian to be abandoned. Last night, though, a bright young United side showed further sparks of promise, despite ultimately proving unable to go top of the league.
It was not enough to find a way past their visitors' resolve either, even if County showed signs of fatigue as this match wore on. The Highland side started well against a United team weakened by the absence of both Jon Daly and Gary Mackay-Steven and it took the visitors all of 45 seconds to offer their hosts a warning that they had no intention of interrupting their post-war league record. A poor Sean Dillon header resulted in a needless corner which was tossed into the box by Richard Brittain. United failed to clear the ball and striker Colin McMenamin's strained header skipped off the top of the crossbar.
United – who fielded two of those that had featured in their Scottish Cup final triumph over the Highland side two years ago, as well as former County forward Michael Gardyne – continued to look so edgy at the back you would have thought they were wearing Scotland shirts. After nine minutes they could, and ultimately should, have been behind after comical defending. Keith Watson's backpass was controlled poorly by Radoslaw Cierzniak, the United goalkeeper's first touch ballooning off his boot and towards the on-rushing McMenamin, only for the County striker's momentum to carry both him and the ball just by the post.
It took until the 22nd minute for his County counterpart, Michael Fraser, to be forced into action. Johnny Russell, lively as always, wriggled through the heart of the visitors' defence, before unleashing a fierce drive from an acute angle. Fraser was up to the task, however, and Russell sent a second attempt into the side netting.
By this point the hosts had begun to work their way slowly back into the match, a series of intricate exchanges from Willo Flood, Russell and Ryan Dow causing visible frustration among the visiting ranks. However, it was the direct approach of Gardyne that almost opened the scoring four minutes later as his 25-yard shot curled towards goal, only for Fraser to somehow get a hand to it.
"The young team we had out excelled at times," said Peter Houston, the United manager. "Up to the final third I thought we were excellent, it's just at times our final ball let us down."
Five minutes after the break and his side were back in a more accommodating mood, though. First they let a wicked Iain Vigurs cross float across the face of goal, before Cierzniak gifted the ball to Gary Glen moments later only for the County striker to spurn the chance.
If that left the United support a tad nervous, they were positively livid on 55 minutes after referee Willie Collum appeared to award and then rescind a penalty kick. The tricky Dow thought he had evaded Ross Tokely, only for the County defender to appear to bring the 21- year-old down. Collum seemed to point to the spot, before changing his mind and awarding a goal kick.
Dow came even closer to breaking the deadlock when his chip clipped the top of the bar after 70 minutes as Fraser watched on. The County goalkeeper then had to claw a Gavin Gunning header off the line with just three minutes remaining.
"We have had a difficult start and to go unbeaten is fantastic," said Derek Adams, the County manager. "We're just delighted with the progress we are making."