Emmanuel Adebayor acknowledged the heavens in remembrance after scoring for the first time since the gun attack in Angola that left him fearing for his life.
Three members of the Togo backroom staff were killed in the terrorist atrocity that resulted in Adebayor and his team-mates pulling out of the African Nations Cup.
There was no joyous celebration as Adebayor rattled his 40th-minute effort past David James.
But as City returned for the second half, the former Arsenal star looked quietly but pointedly to the sky in honour of his fallen colleagues.
By then, Vincent Kompany had powered home a header from Martin Petrov's corner to ensure the Blues moved to within a point of fourth spot despite a less than convincing performance that was still enough to overcome crisis club Portsmouth, who tried hard enough but were too limited to have any impact.
Although Grant has pledged to remain as manager, there is little to be gained from his job at present other that personal pride.
The sale of Younes Kaboul without his knowledge was a lamentable indictment on the state of a club desperately trying to raise money just to pay the wages this month.
It is a shoddy way for any professional club to treat its staff, let alone one who, for now, remain part of the self-styled best league in the world.
Grant was only able to name a full set of substitutes because Quincy Owusu-Abeye signed on loan and the loss of skipper Hermann Hreidarsson to injury during the first half could cause a problem if reinforcements are not brought in before tomorrow's 5pm transfer deadline.
It was to Grant's credit that Pompey were the better side for 39 minutes.
Taking advantage of City's unusual lethargy, the visitors carved out two fine chances.
John Utaka, one of the few survivors from that 2008 FA Cup final win, was presented with the first but leaned back too far when he got on the end of Danny Webber's cross and scooped his shot over.
Webber and Utaka were also heavily involved in the move that ended with Kompany deflecting Anthony Vanden Borre's shot onto his own bar.
Stephen Ireland may only be a slight figure. But he had the strength to hold off Webber and stop the former Watford man tapping Portsmouth in front.
Problems are all relative of course. Yes, it is not nice to see such a proud old club suffering an implosion that seems destined to end in administration.
But, compared to what Adebayor has been through, it really is irrelevant.
The last act of Togo's African Nations Cup was to be banned for two tournaments yesterday.
Given their recent experience, they are probably quite glad even if the decision itself is almost impossible to comprehend.
Anyone with an ounce of compassion could have understood what was going through Adebayor's mind after he crashed his 40th-minute shot past David James.
Latching onto Ireland's lofted pass, his marker Mark Wilson appealing in vain for offside, Adebayor acted as though he no longer knew how to celebrate, an acknowledgement to the heavens at the start of the second half told its own story.
Kompany effectively wrapped up victory in stoppage time.
At City's previous corner, the Belgian had complained of being impeded by Tal Ben Haim.
Having gained no response from referee Martin Atkinson, Kompany took matters into his own hands, simply shrugging the Israeli aside as they ran to meet Martin Petrov's corner, before powering home his first goal of the season.
Portsmouth continued to work hard after the break, which, like Grant, is a testament to their professionalism.
Webber might have breathed fresh life into the contest when he tried to turn home the loose ball after Shay Given had saved from Angelos Basinas.
Unfortunately, the striker missed his kick and fell over.
Now Grant lurches on towards deadline day, six points adrift of the survival waterline, having no real idea what players he is going to be left with at 5pm.Reuse content