This time last year Dundee United were top of the Championship table but, although going into the final week of 2017 they are a place lower, full-back Jamie Robson believes the team is on top form.
And that gives him more confidence this can be the Tangerines’ year when it comes to promotion.
United head into Friday’s top-of-the-table clash with St Mirren on the back of a seven-game unbeaten league run and, while he rates the Buddies highly, he is confident of success.
“We were top at Christmas last season but I do feel this year we are further on as a whole, as a club,” said the 20-year-old.
“Everyone is confident. I suppose we were last year as well but everyone had doubts about Hibs and what they would do.
“This time, we are just focused on Dundee United and what we want to do and that’s the way it should be.
“That’s what will help us get promoted.
“We are looking forward to Friday and it’s a big challenge. If we beat St Mirren we go top of the league again and will have a game in hand over them. It’s a chance to go into the New Year top, playing good football.
“It won’t be easy because St Mirren are a really good team and I think it will be between us and them for the league.
“I feel it should be us and I will be worried if it’s not, but you can’t take your eyes off them because they are doing well.
“The way they’ve fought back from two goals down to win at Queen of the South on Saturday shows they have spirit.
“Both teams have done well to pull away at this stage of the season because it is usually a tight league. And it’s good entertainment for the fans.
“We know if we slip up they will move ahead — they’re in the same position. But if we beat St Mirren we will be ahead of them and we can do well.”
And Robson believes it’s credit to United that they have been winning and winning well despite the pressure of this two-horse promotion race.
“It is pressure but every game we’ve played everyone has been relaxed and nothing is rushed.
“We are winning quite well but we know we don’t need to score until the 89th minute if that’s what it takes.
“If we keep a clean sheet, concentrate and don’t slip up, we know we will be winning games.”
United’s ability to deal with that heat was shown on Saturday as they beat Livingston 3-0 at Tannadice.
While early on in the proceedings the visitors caused them problems, Robson felt the winning margin might have been bigger in the end.
“I think it should have been four or five. I think if we scored the penalty we missed in the second half we would have kicked on and scored more and it should have been easier than it was.
“We were in control, though, and that was pleasing.
“To get the three points was pleasing and giving the fans an early Christmas present was what we set out to do and it was good we did that.
“Livingston didn’t create many chances.
“I didn’t think we started well and we were not passing the way we have been over the past few weeks. For us to be 2-0 up at half-time when we hadn’t played at our best just shows how far we’ve come and the spirit we have.
“Everyone is fighting for each other out on the pitch and we have each other’s backs.
“And the quality when we go forward is great. Every attacking player can do anything. It’s edge-of-the-seat stuff for the fans when we’re attacking.”