Slice it anyway you like and it would still take an optimist's optimist to locate any semblance of a positive in the weekend antics of the Adelaide Reds.
They lost 4-0 to Melbourne, ending their A-League season. Their coach, Aurelio Vidmar, let fly at the city - "a piss ant town" - before accusing people within the club or undermining his efforts. For good measure, labelled the on-field effort a "disgrace".
Even if the Queensland Roar are outwardly saying all the right things about their preliminary final clash at Hindmarsh Stadium on Saturday night, behind closed doors they must know this is a game for the taking against an opposition that is flying on one engine and barely staying airborne.
Queensland keeper Liam Reddy hinted as much at training, saying the pressure of being the overwhelming favourite to meet the Victory in the grand final had its share of disadvantages.
"We don't want to be that team that got beat by Adelaide after what happened against Melbourne," Reddy said. "If they want to capitulate ... we don't care.
"We don't want to be here next year saying we lost the last two (preliminary finals). We want to be the team playing Melbourne in the grand final and playing Asian Cup the year after.
"There's a lot riding on the game (with) Asian Cup at the end of next year - that's a big thing for this club, that in itself is enough."
The case for a Queensland win, despite not having beaten Adelaide since 2007, makes for convincing reading. The Roar finished with a 4-1 aggregate margin over the Central Coast in the minor semi-final, while the Reds let in six and had none of their own against the Victory.
The Adelaide side that challenged for the Asian Champions League a few months ago appears a distant memory, although Reddy was making it clear the Roar were preparing for war.
"We know they (Adelaide) are going to group together, have a good week at training and they are going to try and prove a lot of people wrong," Reddy said.
"A team can turn things around in a game. They are going to definitely be up for it. I think it will make it harder for us to go down there. They are going to be a tight group of people."
The Roar's hyperactive midfield has been a nightmare for opposing defences in the latter half of the season and tormented the Mariners, whose lumbering stocks were made to look lead-footed by Matt McKay, Mitch Nichols, Michael Zullo and Massimo Murdocca.
Nichols has three goals in his past three games and his style of play, lurking behind striker Sergio van Dijk, was proved to be an effective weapon against the Reds by Melbourne's Carlos Hernandez.
"Hernandez played really well and hopefully Mitch (Nicholls) can do a similar role," Reddy said. "That will really help us to get us the win and a grand final appearance."
Danny Tiatto will make his return from suspension for Queensland, while the fitness of winger Tahj Minniecon is still uncertain. The dangerous playmaker missed the win over the Mariners with a hip complaint and is at odds to play this weekend.
Reddy said he would welcome back the veteran presence of Tiatto, who was at the centre of a storm after being sent off in the first leg against the Mariners and having his tackling style branded as dangerous.
"He's a big part of this team, he was missed on the weekend," he said. "We don't want him to change any of his game, or his personality. That's why he is such a good competitor and player for us."
While Reddy conceded that the Roar could not afford to have Tiatto sent off again, he added: "I think you'll find if he plays any different it's not Danny Tiatto.
"I don't think he knows any other way. That's how Danny plays. I don't think he does anything wrong to be honest.
"I think he gets targeted a little bit by certain people but that's life."