Dundee United defender Mark Connolly says they will fight to get back into the top six after Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Hibs saw them drop out for the first time since October.
Goals either side of half time from Darren McGregor and Martin Boyle saw United succumb at Tannadice as their winless run extended to seven.
With St Mirren’s shock win at Celtic, the Terrors fell to seventh in the table, with only nine points between them and bottom side Hamilton.
Centre-half Connolly insists it’s not a disaster but, equally, looking down as opposed to up is not a position the Tangerines want to be in.
He said: “We’re not going to sit here and say: ‘We want to finish 10th’.
“Our aim is to finish in the top six but we’re also just back in the league and have to stay in it.
“That’s the top priority but our aim is to finish in the top six. If we can do that, fantastic, if not, we make sure that we stay in this league.
“We’ve been in the top six for the majority of the season and we deserved to be in it because we got the points on the board.
“We’ve dropped out of it but our aim now will be to get back in there for this club.
“Sometimes the performances haven’t been where we want them to be but we need to get results.
“We’re back in the Premiership after four years and the only way we’ll get the results is by working hard and grinding it out.”
A run of wins could turn Terrors season around
With trips to struggling Motherwell in midweek and lowly Ross County at the weekend, Connolly is hoping United can go on a run that sees them climb the Premiership standings once more.
The 29-year-old continued: “This league when I was in it with Kilmarnock was similar, it’s a tough league where people can take points off everyone, that’s including Celtic.
“We’ve just got to concentrate on ourselves, keep working hard and, hopefully, we can get them few wins.
“We haven’t went on that run yet and once we get one or two wins we can maybe go on a bit of a run to push ourselves up the table.
“We’ve got to just keep fighting for points to make sure we stay in this league.
“Once you’ve lost you want to play and get back on the wagon to keep going.
“They’re two tough games away to Motherwell and Ross County so we’ve just got to dust ourselves down and get ready for this week.
“It’s a big week and we’ve got to keep fighting and giving everything for this football club to make sure that we get the results it needs.”
Service to strikers must improve
Reflecting on the loss to the Hibees, the Irishman admits they need to do more to supply forwards Lawrence Shankland, Nicky Clark and Marc McNulty with the ammunition to damage teams.
Despite the high quality of striker at the club, United sit second bottom of the top-flight scoring charts and Connolly says it’ll be a group effort if that’s to change.
He added: “We’ve got three very, very good strikers and we need to get them in the box and get better service in for them.
“Whether that’s better quality into their feet or into the box because at the moment we haven’t been doing that enough.
“Hopefully, we can change that and get them the service that they need and once they get that I do feel like they will score goals. They’ve proven they can do it.
“We need to keep working away, stay positive and, hopefully, we can turn that corner and provide them boys with the chances that they need.”
Poor form is frustrating but United remain confident
Connolly says Micky Mellon’s men are frustrated with their current poor run of form, admitting confidence in the camp may be a little low.
He is eager to put last week’s 5-1 defeat to St Mirren and the loss to Hibs on Saturday behind them.
Connolly said: “You want to win games and it’s been difficult. The other night (against St Mirren) was a tough one to take but I don’t think it was the right scoreline for what it was but it was difficult being 3-0 down at half time.
“On Saturday, the set-piece for the first one is frustrating conceding from that. Again, we’re trying to push and push to get a goal to get back in the game but we lose the ball in midfield and they score a second.
“I don’t think we played too badly on Saturday and the confidence is maybe a little bit low but I think we’ve just got to keep grinding and working hard.
“Hopefully we can turn it and get a few results.”