He was meant to be the third man but Nicky Clark has hit number one spot for Dundee United.
If United fans were being honest, when they wondered last season about which players would seamlessly take the step-up to the Premiership Clark would have been among the maybes.
Also, when Marc McNulty arrived on loan from Reading in the last transfer window to join a side that already contained Scotland striker Lawrence Shankland, many fans would have mentally put Clark down the pecking order.
However, he is flourishing in the top flight to say the least.
Clark has scored no fewer than nine times already this season, seven in the league and two in the Betfred Cup.
It would have been 10 had he not been “robbed” of the only goal of the match against Kelty Hearts by teammate Ryan Edwards.
Shankland has managed just two goals in a campaign disrupted by injury and international duty, while McNulty has yet to score but is beginning to find his feet.
It has been the timing of Clark’s goals that have been so significant.
He netted a wonderful winner away to Ross County on August 15; got the Tangerines off and running against Brechin with an early brace; scored both of his side’s goals in the 2-1 home win over the Staggies; then found the net twice on Saturday against Hamilton.
There are a few precious points sitting in United’s bank thanks to Clark.
He is also, of course, the man who takes the Tangerines’ freekicks and penalties – their cool go-to man when the pressure is on.
His manager Micky Mellon certainly knows how valuable Clark is proving to be in a campaign that sees United sitting pretty in fifth spot in the table with 20 points from 15 matches.
Mellon said: “It all fell to the right man at the right time.
“For Nicky Clark to show that calmness and go and slot (like) that twice with those two finishes is great credit to him.
“It tells you what a top player he is.”
United had fallen behind on 65 minutes to a poor goal from their perspective. Scott McMann was allowed to get his cross in from the left when it could have been blocked then Tangerines’ skipper Mark Reynolds inexplicably stopped marking Ross Callachan at the wrong moment and allowed the Hamilton player to head into the net.
Clark then rode to the rescue.
His first goal saw him slide-rule the ball into the net with his right foot after an excellent move from the hosts. McNulty played a superb pass forward to Liam Smith on the right and the full-back cut back perfectly for Clark.
The second was an even better finish from the former Rangers and Dunfermline man, who had the ball nodded into his path by McNulty and then lashed a half-volley home.
Callachan then went from hero to zero for Accies when he blasted his penalty over the United bar when gifted the chance by referee Craig Napier. The award had baffled almost everyone inside Tannadice, with the crime seemingly a handball by United sub Jamie Robson. It was perhaps justice that Callachan’ strike landed on Arklay Street rather than in the home goal.
A crestfallen Callachan said: “I’ve scored two this season and if you keep scoring them you stay on them so we’ll see what happens.
“It wasn’t meant to be. I’m gutted.
“I don’t feel like it’s all my fault but I do feel a lot of the responsibility. I’m big enough, I can own that error and I’ll definitely bounce back.
“You know your capabilities as a player and nine times out of 10 I feel I’d score a penalty and I usually do.
“But the best players in the world miss them. I’ll not beat myself up too much but I’m obviously gutted now because it’s raw. ”
Had Callachan converted the spotkick, it would have been harsh on the Tangerines.
They still aren’t free-flowing and wonderful to watch but perhaps it is time to give the players some credit for what they have achieved so far.
They have been battling against adversity and are winning.
They lost their title-winning manager, Robbie Neilson, and the coaching staff in the summer.
They then had to adjust to new boss Micky Mellon, a very different character to Neilson.
They didn’t even know for sure whether they would be in the top flight as a result of the legal case brought by Hearts and Partick Thistle.
Most of their players have little or no experience of Premiership football.
They have had to do without star man Shankland for much of the season, either due to injury or international duty.
And last, but certainly not least, their employer is in the process of asking them to take a pay cut through no fault of their own.
That is quite some list and should be taken into consideration when assessing how the Tangerines are coping with life back in the big time.