There was undoubtedly a feeling of apprehension as Ayr set off for their joust overlooking the silvery Tay.
The term banana skin was mentioned more than once in the Millbrae clubhouse despite the fact that a top plays bottom of the league match should normally be a given for the leaders.
Dundee HSFP have been a bogey side for Ayr at both Millbrae and at Mayfield and, coming into this match with only two wins from eight starts in the RBS Premiership and none either in the British and Irish Cup, made them probably more dangerous than if they were on a winning streak.
The sun shone, the pitch was greasy, there was no wind and that paradox in the weather was replicated on the pitch where Dundee probably played the more tactically astute game but came away with nothing.
Things looked like they could, to use another fruity analogy, go pear shaped for Ayr when, in the opening minutes, Finn Russell missed a penalty which many felt could have been back heeled over the bar but that was his only miss of the day.
The young No10 got Ayr on the board with his second shot a goal after 14 minutes but full back Jamie Urquhart slotted two penalties in five minutes to take Dundee ahead. In the minute after the second score, a weak kick downfield was collected by Grant Anderson who made a now characteristic foray back at the chasers, broke through and set up the field position for skipper Callum Forrester to claim the opening try. Russell converted and his penalty six minutes from half time took Ayr in 13-6 ahead.
The second half was only a minute old when wing Andy McLean punished some poor Ayr tackling to go over too far out for Urquhart to nail the kick.
With the gap back to two points, the home side were looking dangerous and despite a third Russell penalty taking the score to 16-11, Harry Duthie’s try completed what the big Dundee centre had threatened to do all afternoon as he scampered through, this time well within Urquhart’s range as the lead changed hands for the fourth time.
Penalties numbers four and five for Russell gave breathing space at 22-18 but it was only seven minutes from the end that the travelling faithful could breathe easily as lock Nick Campbell crashed over, Russell converted to collect 19 points out of the 29 total and Ayr ran down the clock with considerable more conviction than they had done against Boroughmuir.
“Ayr probably deserved to edge it,” said Dundee coach Ian Rankin. “I am disappointed with the result but not with our performance and though it was a pity we didn’t get a bonus, I feel the showing has given us some impetus.”
Just as well that the trip to Mayfield is out of the way for Ayr, now leading Gala by seven points, although the Netherdale men have a game in hand, as they go into their defence of the West Regional Cup starting with Hillhead Jordanhill at Millbrae on Saturday.