It is safe to say things have not gone to plan for Dundee United in recent weeks and that culminated in a 2-1 defeat at lowly Alloa on Saturday.
That shock loss meant the Tangerines entered the New Year in third spot in the Championship, seven points off the pace being set by Ross County at the top.
With manager Robbie Neilson, backed by the millions of new American owner Mark Ogren, planning to add to the quality of the squad in this transfer window, with close on half the season’s fixtures still to be played, defender Paul Watson believes promotion is there for United’s taking.
“The gap is seven points, I know, but we still have Ross County to play twice and second-placed Ayr United to play twice,” said the former Falkirk man.
“There are a lot of hard games to come in this league but it’s still well within our reach and we know we are capable of doing it.
“The manager has said he will strengthen the squad in January and that is only going to be a good thing for the team moving forward.
“And when the manager first came in, we did hit the ground running and won five out of his first six games, with the other a draw.
“The recent run has been disappointing and a little unfortunate, with goals conceded at the wrong time.
“Goals change games and, if we had taken our chances in those games, things could have been different.
“However, if we keep doing what the manager wants us to do and keep working hard we will be OK.
“They are all tough games coming up and it is who can have the character to get the ball down and play and, as the manager says, don’t get caught up in playing the ball back to front all the time. We know we can do it.”
Tough to take as defeat last Saturday was, even then the 28-year-old believes Robbie Neilson’s team showed for long periods they are serious promotion contenders.
He’s still scratching his head over just how United, after being on top for most of the proceedings and going ahead, managed to lose in the end.
“It was very frustrating because we dominated the game for long periods,” he added.
“It was just unlucky that in the final third that last pass or even the last shot, if you like, let us down.
“If we play like we did for most of the game, and take our chances we will definitely win more games than we lose.
“We just need to take confidence from the big part of the game we dominated.”
With back-to-back Tannadice clashes coming, against Partick Thistle today and Dunfermline a week later, Watson knows how important it is to take maximum points.
He’s taking nothing for granted, though, and is predicting a testing 90 minutes against a Jags side he feels is considerably better than their lowly league position right now suggests.
“We need to be winning our home games, we know that, but there’s no easy games in this league as I’ve said before. They’re all tough.
“Partick Thistle will be fighting for their lives and they’ll be aiming to climb the table.
“They’ll also be looking to add a few bodies in this window, I would imagine.
“They have good players in their team and the new manager Gary Caldwell will be wanting to bring in some of his own players.
“They were in the Premiership last season and still have some of that quality.
“We’ll be aware of that but what we need to do is to focus on ourselves and make sure we take care of business.”