Defiant Robbie Neilson is adamant that, despite the pain of missing out on promotion for a third year running, Dundee United are now a team on the up.
Robbie’s hopes of leading the Tangerines back to the Premiership just eight months after he took charged were dashed as they went down to St Mirren in the play-off final on Sunday.
It was in the most painful manner as his side missed four penalty shoot-out kicks in a row to lose after the teams had drawn 1-1 over two legs.
He believes, though, that with the backing of American owner Mark Ogren, next term United will get automatic promotion.
“In my opinion the club has awoken again. It’s been in slumber for the past four or five years,” he said.
“The new owner came in desperate for the club to do well and you can see the fans are coming back and buying into what he’s trying to do.
“They are no longer worried about how the club’s getting run. Things are being done properly.
“Yes, there’s a disappointment but if you look at the bigger picture, in the six months since the owner came things have been positive and I am sure that is going to continue over the summer and into next season.”
After a bumper crowd of over 11,000 for last week’s first leg, 1,500 Arabs travelled to the Simple Digital Arena on Sunday and backed their team to the hilt.
Hopes of a glorious day were raised when Nicky Clark gave United the lead with a hotly-disputed 23rd-minute penalty but just three minutes later Danny Mullen levelled for the home side.
And the fans were left disappointed and bewildered as Peter Pawlett, Pavol Safranko, Osman Sow and Callum Booth all failed from the spot as the game moved to penalties after 120 minutes.
Robbie, though, refused to criticise his players.
“There is pressure on the players to go up and score. I think when you miss the first one, it gives the other team a lift and then they go and score and it gives them another one
“There is no point in talking about the penalties, it’s done and dusted.
“The only way is to move forward and make sure the players come back ready for pre-season and we go on and have a good season.”