When Kilmarnock supporters temporarily forget about torching effigies of Michael Johnston in the town square and start giving the you and your team-mates far more abuse than the chairman, the time for unflinching self-appraisal is most certainly upon you.
There are alarm bells ringing all over Rugby Park right now, though, and this display makes them all the more difficult to ignore. Of course, Johnston, perched in the top right-hand corner of the stadium, an ideal spot to peer down his hooter at his detractors, received his usual share of catcalls. Generally, though, they were conducted by no more than a handful of unfortunates lacking any kind of musical inclination far less the ability to blend words and rhythm into a marching song for the masses.
It was the seemingly-inevitable failure of Allan Johnston's players to prevent themselves sliding to a 10th consecutive game without a win that truly brought the punters together in the end. Their jeers contained no lack of venom and it is difficult to work out what was the most embarrassing aspect of this defeat for them.
First things first, United created a barrowload of chances and should have won by far more than Nadir Ciftci's well-executed 55th-minute goal. David Goodwillie, for example, was one-on-one with Craig Samson on three separate occasions, hitting the post first time round and putting his other efforts far too close to the goalkeeper after that. His last chance summed up Kilmarnock's main issue: They are not defending as a team. Gary Mackay-Steven picked up the ball at the halfway line and was allowed to jink and shimmy his way through several players before laying it off to the unmarked Goodwillie on the left.
Shameful is not the word. Yet, prior to the involvement of substitute Mackay-Steven, we had become more accustomed to seeing Kilmarnock players floundering in the wake of Ryan Gauld. Jackie McNamara could hardly be described as a showman so, when the United manager describes the 17-year-old as "light years ahead of most players with his balance and vision" you ought to pay attention.
Saturday demonstrated what he means. Gauld should have topped off this celebration of everything good in the game by scoring but it would be ungracious to criticise him for directing a shot straight at Samson. He was simply a delight to watch, ghosting past players with his pace, thrilling the crowds with backheels and dragbacks and producing some real killer passes.
While Gauld was easily the most entertaining player on show, his contemporary John Souttar - already the subject of a £600,000 bid from Sunderland and watched by QPR - was strolling through his afternoon against Kris Boyd. What does it say about the SPFL's top division that two 17-year-olds can run the show? It certainly does not say much for Kilmarnock that they were brushed aside so comprehensively by them. Radoslaw Cierzniak did have to produce a great save to deny Jackson Irvine in stoppage-time, but it would have been a travesty had the visitors taken anything.
It had all become too much for Pascali long before then. After Ismael Bouzid had put Ciftci through on goal with a dreadful attempt to clear a long ball, the Italian blew his top and the players ended up raising their hands to each other. It was messy and also hinted at the chaos around the club. "I said something I didn't have to say [to Bouzid]," admitted Pascali. "I said sorry. The only thing the fans can do is shout at the players and they are right to do it.
"The scoreline made it look like we were in the game, but that is only because Samson made five or six good saves. If we had scored at the end, we would have been like robbers. We concede stupid goals all the time and I am talking about everyone here, from the strikers, midfielders to the defence and the goalkeeper. We have to show character and accept responsibility."
Gauld and Souttar certainly know how to take responsibility despite their tender years and it is just so sad that, like the Jack Grimmers, Scott Allans, Ryan Frasers and Danny Wilsons, they will be spirited away by English money when it would probably be best for them to play here for a little longer.
"The whole shout about being in the shop window was given to us when we signed here," explained Sean Dillon, the United captain. "I've seen Barry Robson, Noel Hunt, David Goodwillie, Johnny Russell, Prince Buaben, Morgaro Gomis and Paul Dixon all move on. It is a pain in the balls, but it happens. I look at myself and think time is running out to move onto bigger things, although I will continue to try to do that. I hope Soapy [Souttar] stays, but I wouldn't dare say what is best for him."