So it was in Paisley on Saturday when another St Mirren defeat pushed Danny Lennon that bit closer to the brink. His team actually played well in spells against Motherwell, in the first half especially, but the result was the same as before. St Mirren have yet to win this season, have one point from five league matches, and have scored two goals. Had Hearts not started the season with a 15-point handicap then Lennon's side would find themselves bottom of the SPFL Premiership table.
Football's ability to rally around those going through a hard time is without parallel, however. Perhaps there is an element of "there but for the grace of god" that prompts rivals to offer their backing whenever a manager is threatened with the sack, or perhaps it is just a case of compassion for a fellow professional. Regardless, it was there in abundance, with Motherwell manager Stuart McCall and captain Keith Lasley offering backing to the embattled Lennon and expressing a confidence that, under his guidance, St Mirren will soon turn the corner.
Lasley grew up in Renfrewshire and still lives in the area. He is not a St Mirren fan but has friends and family who support the club, so can empathise with their anguish as the team goes through what could euphemistically be described as a sticky patch.
"I had some family in the home stands on Saturday, an uncle and some friends," he said. "My wife and kids were in the Motherwell stand so there could be some interesting conversations over dinner. I always enjoy coming here to play and it was the same at Love Street. Living in the area, I hear people's thoughts about St Mirren. I know it's hard for the fans, but look at St Johnstone last season who started fairly poorly but ended up third. This league is so tight that these 1-0 defeats can easily turn into 1-0 wins for St Mirren in the coming weeks. I don't think there is a lot between the teams and I'm sure they are capable of climbing the table."
Another sign of a team in trouble is when they start cursing a run of bad luck. St Mirren, though, had a genuine cause for grievance on Saturday when they were awarded a penalty only for Craig Thomson to almost immediately overturn his decision after consulting with one of his assistants. It seemed Conor Newton had been fortunate to have been given the penalty after Lasley appeared to foul him outside the box, but ended it up being the turning point of the game, Motherwell scoring just eight minutes later through John Sutton and going on to perform much better in the second half as St Mirren toiled.
"I think it was on the line to be honest, but I am hardly going to sit on the fence,"said Newton. "I am sure he gave it and it looked like the linesman gave it as well but then between them they chose not to give it. These are the kind of things that don't go for you when you are on a bad run.
"We just need to work hard to turn it round but that sums up our luck at the moment. It's Sod's law and it feels like nothing will go your way. The ball was flashing across their goal and we just didn't get a break. We just need one thing to turn for us. You see teams who are on good runs, they don't even need to play well and still manage to get the points."
Almost forgotten amid St Mirren's woes was the fact that Motherwell are finally gaining a bit of momentum. They were not at their best here but a third consecutive win has them safely ensconced in third place in the table.
"I think we are hitting a bit of form but I still feel there is more to come," added Lasley. "We had a big turnaround of players in the summer, for the first time in a few years. It has maybe taken a bit of time to gel but I'd like to think we're now finding a shape that suits us. As Inverness are showing just now, it's the teams who can put these runs together who will be in the mix come the end of the season."