Dundee United academy chief Andy Goldie is backing his starlets to make the grade in the Premiership next season.
A handful of United kids played a part as Robbie Neilson’s side won the Championship title.
Louis Appere was a crucial cog in the Tangerines wheel while fellow graduates Jamie Robson, Declan Glass, Logan Chalmers and Chris Mochrie also featured to varying degrees.
Goldie – who earlier this month hailed the club’s partnership with Baldragon Academy to deliver a football-based education programme – doesn’t think the pressure of top-flight action will halt that conveyor belt of talent.
He believes his youngsters are good enough and, if given the chance to impress by first-team boss Neilson, will shine on the biggest stage.
“I think we’ve made it clear throughout the club, the academy is one of the many pillars which is going to bring long-term sustainable success back to Dundee United,” the former SFA Performance School coach said.
“We’ve seen it so far by gaining Elite status, the first team winning the Championship and even the community side picking up awards.
“In the space of 12-14 months you can see the improvements already made. We’re already acting, behaving and working like a top-six Premiership club.
“We’ve put that across to our players from day one. We’ve treated them like young Champions League players because, ultimately, we’re trying to develop them to play in European football in future.
“Regardless of what league the first team were in we always looked to the future. In academy football you can’t have short-termism.
“They’ve got the opportunity and the pathway is there for them but having a full-time contract doesn’t guarantee you’ll play for the first team.
“These young boys will need to come back and earn the opportunity with Robbie and the coaching staff.”
Goldie has cited Appere as the perfect example to his fledgling stars.
The 21-year-old attacker enjoyed a breakthrough season, scoring six goals in 33 appearances after a spell in the junior ranks with Broughty Athletic the campaign prior.
Youth chief Goldie believes Appere’s attitude and determination to make it in the top team should inspire his young contemporaries to never give up on their opportunities.
He continued: “Hopefully they can take inspiration from what Louis done last year and come back in pre-season and hit the ground running.
“They need to show they really want it and I think the gaffer’s made it clear if they come back and show that they’ll get their opportunities.
“He’s not afraid of putting young players into the first team.
“Players need to have that self-belief to go in there and match what the experienced professionals are doing.
“The way we trained them within our academy is for them to go in there and hit the ground running. They’ve been prepared for it.
“Louis saw it as his last opportunity to break in and I think that’s a strong message our young players should be looking at.
“They should be approaching every day as if it’s their last at the club.”