Csaba’s ability to stay calm bodes well for Dundee United

Dundee United manager Csaba Laszlo at full time against Partick
Dundee United manager Csaba Laszlo at full time against Partick

Let’s be honest, most football people are not known for their extensive reading.

Other than a glance at the back pages to see what’s been written about them, those in the game don’t tend to stray too far into the world of books.

And even if Csaba Laszlo does, as an ethnic Hungarian born and brought up in Romania, it’s unlikely a book of Rudyard Kipling’s poetry is the first thing he reaches for when he fancies a good read.

But if he ever did glance over the first few lines of Kipling’s “If”, he might feel it could have been written with him in mind.

It’s the one that starts – “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you. If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting, too. . .”

We’ll stop there because, to be honest, classic work that it is, it does drone on for a bit.

And those opening lines do, pretty much, show the ability demonstrated by the Dundee United gaffer over the opening weeks of the season.

As his new team struggled to get going during a difficult Betfred Cup group campaign, Csaba was as disappointed as anyone.

But he remained calm, didn’t panic and showed an understanding of the criticism that came his way from a support he knows is as desperate as he is to see the Tangerines back where they feel they belong.

Most important of all, he stayed firm in his belief the changes he’s been at the centre of over the last few months were both necessary and the right ones.

And while that process still has a long way to go before it’s been successfully completed, after two big Championship wins over Queen of the South and Partick Thistle, now there are at least concrete signs United are heading in the right direction.

The success in Dumfries just over a fortnight ago brought a first three vital league points and with them a needed boost to morale.After the toils in the Betfred Cup were followed by a hugely- disappointing home defeat at the hands of Dunfermline, that something was done to lift spirits was vitally important.

Having done that, last Saturday saw United seize the opportunity to send a message to the rest of their division that they can live up to their pre-season billing as one of the promotion favourites.

The 3-1 win over Partick Thistle, another side expected to challenge near the top, was as convincing as could be hoped for from a side that remains in the middle of the rebuilding process.

From the moment defender Paul Watson headed the first of his two goals inside the first 10 minutes, they were in control.

It did take them longer than they would have liked to seal the win via Watson’s second fine header in the 78th minute but by the end Craig Curran had added a third.

Over the 90 minutes they bossed the proceedings and looked every inch serious promotion contenders.

As well as having some exciting attacking talent like Fraser Aird, Yannick Loemba, Craig Curran and Pavol Safranko, the team as a whole turned in a strong display.

Almost as importantly, and whether conscious or not of those words written over a century before, the manager kept his head. As was the case when he didn’t panic when things were not going so well a few weeks earlier, he was not going to get carried away by this performance.

He knows there is a long way to go in this most difficult of leagues and as he poetically puts it himself, there will be more stones along this rocky road.

But he will stay calm and focused and, for United fans, that has to be encouraging.

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