Whatever happens at Dundee United in the coming weeks, Anthony Ralston knows he’s heading back to the Premiership with parent club Celtic for next season.
Judging by his performances so far during what’s been a successful loan spell with the Tangerines, when he is back at Parkhead there is every chance he’ll be seeing plenty action in the top flight.
And the 19-year-old is on a mission to make sure if that is indeed the case, one of the teams he’ll be facing is United.
Ralston’s been at star at right-back as he’s crammed in a remarkable nine games since switching to Tannadice just a month ago.
When he joined, United were struggling but he immediately said he saw there was quality in manager Csaba Laszlo’s dressing-room and, after three big wins on the trot to take them to the verge of the play-offs, he believes he’s been proven right.
“I can see it and I saw it early doors. There’s a calibre and quality of players we have here and we’ve shown it in recent games,” he said.
“Tuesday (at Brechin) was a prime example. It’s not the nicest of places to go but we’ve shown our quality and that we can damage teams.”
The 5-0 success at Glebe Park was United’s biggest win of the season, but while it was the second-half goals avalanche that caught the eye, he believes the battling approach in a tight first half, that was carried over from narrow Tannadice wins against St Mirren and Falkirk, was almost as important.
“In the first 15 minutes it’s all about who wins the challenges and second balls and when you’ve done that you can push on through the game.
“For the mental side of things, if you are winning every tackle it kind of scares the opposition a wee bit.
“We did that and overall we could be happy with the three points.”
And Ralston is in no doubt a lot of the confidence United are now showing stems from last week’s success against the Buddies, when they came to Tannadice needing just a point to secure promotion.
“The St Mirren win gave everyone great confidence.
“They’ve done what they’ve done this season and for us to go and get the result we did against them has given us a belief we can go out and do that against anyone really.
“We’ve proven we are a real challenge to play against. The boys showed the other night we have got really good quality that can hurt teams.
“I said in previous interviews it takes that one win, that one good game, to go on then and maybe win three, four, five and, hopefully, that’s the case here because everyone is getting that belief.”
Now, the immediate aim is to maintain that form of the past three games and get the win at Queen of the South on Saturday that confirms the play-off place the manager already believes is 99% secure.
Looking slightly further ahead, Ralston is very much focused on his aim to be heading back west at the end of the campaign with United a top-flight outfit again. He believes they can be.
“I’m here to do a job for myself and this team. I really do want to help get Dundee United back where they belong — which is in the Premiership.
“We want wins in the final games and then go on and get really good results in the play-offs. I feel we can.
“It’s not been the easiest of times, even since I’ve come in, but I’m enjoying it and the boys have shown they’ve got the quality, the mindset and the belief that we can push on and get what we want.”