Dillon Powers hopes he and Dundee United can pick up where they left off when the new season gets under way.
The American midfielder checked in at Tannadice in January and was an ever-present in United’s run-in to the title.
He took a while to find his feet but the 29-year-old feels he was hitting top form when he scored his first goal for the club in United’s last game before the shutdown – a 1-1 draw against Partick.
“There were some good moments,” he said.
“There were some hard games against teams who really bunkered in. We found it hard to finish games and score goals.
“Early on we opened ourselves up and tried to dominate but we had a period where the results were up and down and it was at that point we knew we needed to start to grind teams down.
“We fought and scrapped out and I was really proud of our last few performances as a team and individually.
“The last three games I had learned more about the Scottish game. I was stronger physically and I made a lot of recoveries.
“I was pleased with my role. I scored in my last game and I felt I was getting into my stride and so that was frustrating we couldn’t keep that going.”
The Tangerines’ Championship win is Powers’ first league title as a professional and he is looking forward to the challenge of competing in the Premiership next season.
“It is really special to me (winning the title),” he added.
“I had never really experienced that intensity of relegation and going for promotion because we don’t have that in MLS.
“It is all about the play-offs and if you get there then it is viewed as a successful season.
“So to be on the winning side is pretty cool now.
“That for me was the goal and lure of coming to Dundee United was to play in the Premiership.
“I know we will be up for it.
“It will be a new challenge and there will be some really tougher and bigger games.
“Everyone at the club is going to need to step it up and do better than they did this season.
“Given the characters we have within the locker-room I know for a fact we will be right up for that challenge.
“We have a really strong and talented group.”
Of the club’s top-six ambitions, he continued: “You want, as a player, to have aspirations and ambitions.
“You don’t want to settle for second best.
“We are hungry and excited and we want to compete for everything and do the best we can collectively and individually.”
One man he is looking forward to going up against once more next term is Rangers manager Steven Gerrard.
Powers pitted his wits against the former LA Galaxy midfielder when with Orlando City in the MLS and the American admits the ex-Liverpool star was his hero as a kid.
“Steven Gerrard was a player I idolised growing up,” he added.
“I was a big Liverpool fan when I was younger but now I just gravitate towards good football.
“He was a top midfielder and had a real passion for the game and it was something I latched on to as a fellow midfielder.
“To play against him was great. To hear him on the field and to acknowledge me on the pitch was great.
“I got a few chats with him, on the field and even after the games.
“He was a really nice guy. I first played him when I was at Colorado and we were in the same conference.
“We had some good matches against La Galaxy and we also beat them in the play-offs. We won on penalties and went through.
“He is doing well and I will look forward to seeing him again and taking on his Rangers side next season.”
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