With an important run of fixtures ahead, Dundee United will be delighted to have pay cut negotiations between the club and the players done and dusted.
It will be a huge relief for board and squad alike to have the short-term future sorted out after agreeing to 20% wage deductions amid the continued pressures of the coronavirus pandemic.
With the global situation today the way it is, that’s probably about as much as you can hope for.
United should be able to focus on today’s Tayside derby with St Johnstone at Tannadice without minds drifting elsewhere.
However, between the lingering threat of the Covid-19 crisis cancelling football, the freezing weather putting games in jeopardy and the continued financial challenges, there is still a maelstrom of unresolved issues swirling in the background.
As if the winter schedule wasn’t hectic and testing enough for the Terrors, they and the rest of the beautiful game are set to be pushed to the limit by what, potentially, lies ahead.
In times like this, a good policy for United, one which boss Micky Mellon has employed all season, is to take things one step at a time.
It’s worked so far, with the Tangerines comfortably sitting in the top six with winnable fixtures against Hamilton, St Mirren, Motherwell and Ross County after this afternoon’s visit of Callum Davidson’s struggling Saints side.
Mellon’s men are in good shape after impressive draws against Aberdeen, Motherwell and Hibs and a 2-0 win over Kilmarnock in the last month.
However, the period ahead is where they can really pull away from the pack and they should be using today’s encounter with the Perth outfit as a signal of intent.
The McDiarmid Park side haven’t had their troubles to seek on the pitch of late, without a win in their last eight and toiling in front of goal.
United are hardly setting the scoring charts alight themselves, so it’s unlikely to be a classic, but, if the display of Lawrence Shankland up at Pittodrie is anything to go by, the goals are coming.
The Scotland star could’ve easily had a hat-trick on the day but he and his side ended the afternoon goalless.
That said, I’ve a good feeling about United moving forward.
It feels like the tide is turning and their stifling creative funk is lifting as Mellon starts to loosen the shackles a little.
As they creep up closer towards the 35 to 40-point mark, what has – up until now – been a very defensive set-up will surely change.
Hopefully, a few wins in this run ahead and we will see that and with it the unlikely threat of a relegation battle completely quashed.
They’re not totally out of the woods yet, on or off the pitch, but United can be delighted with how things are looking at this stage of what has been the most turbulent of seasons.
There’s been a mixed reaction from both sets of fans to Paul McMullan’s decision to jump across the street from United to Dundee.
McMullan’s pre-contract move from Tannadice to Dens this summer was the worst kept secret in Dundee football and is a switch, I believe, Dees should be very pleased about.
I’ve heard some, shall we say, underwhelmed reactions from punters of a dark blue persuasion at the news of the 24-year-old winger’s impending transfer.
His history with the Tangerines, particularly his often excellent performances in Dundee derbies, won’t be helping that appraisal.
However, so will some of the joyous reactions of Arabs happy to see the back of the diminutive wide man.
There were some harsh comments made about a player who always gave his best for the Terrors, often turning down opportunities elsewhere to stay and fight for a tangerine jersey.
It must be said, the vast majority of Arabs wished him well and there was a good section of delighted Dees, too.
Rightly so because, in my opinion, he is exactly the type of player James McPake needed to add to his squad.
They’ll have to wait until next season, whether that is in the Championship or the Premiership, but, regardless, McMullan will add pace and a directness severely lacking at the moment.
Good luck, wee man!
Signing a striker the calibre of Eamonn Brophy is a huge coup for my team St Mirren.
The Buddies confirmed the capture of the Kilmarnock and Scotland man on a pre-contract deal this week, with Brophy set to swap Ayrshire for Paisley in the summer.
Given the 24-year-old’s tender years, his proven goal-scoring record at Premiership level, the fact it’s a three-year deal and Brophy having a Scotland cap under his belt, it’s a huge statement of intent by Jim Goodwin’s men.
Top six here we come? It’s never that easy with St Mirren!