Lewis Toshney believes it’s time for the real Dundee United to reappear — starting in the Scottish Cup at Ross County this weekend.
If they do, the marauding full-back believes the Tangerines will take a massive confidence boost heading back into the league campaign.
The challenge at the top of the Championship has stuttered.
After going to the top of the table with a Christmas Eve win over St Mirren, they’ve slumped to six points off the pace because of losses to Dumbarton and Hibs followed by a home draw with Queen of the South.
When Toshney looks back on that lean spell, the recurring phrase he uses is “not good enough.”
And he admits the seeds of the slump may have been sewn in the weeks leading up to the Hogmanay defeat at the Sons.
“Saturday, last week against Hibs and Dumbarton the week before that has not been good enough,” he said.
“To be fair we’ve probably played the same way in a few matches before this bad run and managed to win.
“We’ve been grinding out results but we need to up the performances again and we know that.”
Heading into a tie against top-flight opposition, and at a difficult place to go, may not seem an ideal opportunity to end this bad spell.
Toshney, though, does not see things that way. He is familiar with the Victoria Park side having had a brief stint there after being on loan to Dundee in 2014 and views the Dingwall trip on Saturday as the ideal chance to get what had been shaping up to be a very good season back on track.
“We’ve had a bad spell and it’s about how quickly we recover from that,” he added.
“The next game is Ross County in the cup and it’s massive because it’s a chance to get back to playing well.
“We need to get our heads together and up the levels. We need confidence and the cup gives us the chance to get some.
“If we can go and beat a Premiership team like Ross County away from home, that can only build confidence for the league games that follow.”
He knows victory on Saturday will be hard earned. It’s not just going to happen and he pledges no stone will be left unturned as United try to get back to winning ways.
And although he is known for getting forward down the right flank, his first priority this week is to help the rearguard get back to the mean defending that was a feature of the unbeaten run up to Christmas.
“The defence has been brilliant but we’ve shipped goals in the last couple of games and that is not good enough as well.
“We will be working hard on that in training this week because we have to get back to the way we’ve been defending and not like we have in those last two games.
“I am an attacking full-back but I am still a defender and I pride myself on clean sheets. I am a defender at the end of the day and that’s what comes first.
“Getting forward as well is massive and it’s important I get crosses into the box. I maybe only got two crosses in on Saturday and that wasn’t good enough as well.
“But the first thing was have to do is get back to the way we were defending up to Christmas.”
One thing Toshney does stress is despite the troubles of the past couple of weeks, this United squad are still fighting hard for promotion. Hibs are not out of sight at the top of the table and there is time to catch them.
“There is a long way to go, loads of games to come, and there is only six points in it.”