Dundee United boss Robbie Neilson hasn’t just added quality to his squad in the January transfer window – he believes he’s got leadership as well.
Robbie handed debuts to five new signings as the Tangerines got back to winning ways against Morton at Tannadice on Saturday.
One of them, Peter Pawlett, stole the show with a goal and a Man-of-the-Match performance but Robbie was pleased with all his new boys.
And, in Mark Reynolds, Mark Connolly and Calum Butcher, he felt he had a trio of experience performers who brought more than just ability.
“We wanted leaders to come into the group and I felt previously we weren’t the most vocal team, not the most aggressive team,” he said.
“I think when things were going well for us we were alright but when things weren’t going great we didn’t really stand up to the game as well as we should.
“Recruitment was about trying to get some leaders with character who would speak and I thought the two centre halves and Butcher in the middle certainly gave us that.
“I could hear them from the side talking and organising and making sure people were doing the right things at the right time and you need that.”
It’s emerged, meanwhile, that United tried to get Aberdeen centre-half Reynolds last summer. A deal for the 31-year-old was agreed but had to be abandoned when he required knee surgery.
Robbie was also delighted with Pawlett’s impressive display, believing the 27-year-old showed exactly why he worked so hard to get him.
“Pawlett is a good player. That’s the reason I chased him and the reason I took him down south as well. You know what you’re going to get.
“I think this league and this style of football will suit him. The game is quite open and he can get in good areas. We have the players who can get it to him.
“I was delighted with his performance. His fitness levels tailed towards the end just because he’s not played a lot recently.”
After dominating the first half and going two goals up by the break, United’s performance dropped off in the second half. Given the lack of game time most of the signings have had – Osman Sow was only ready for the bench – that did not surprise the gaffer.
“I think first half we probably could have scored five or six easily. We were blistering at times, the way we went through them but I expected there to be a bit of a come down in the second half.”