Dundee United will use their big club mentality to smash their way into the Premiership’s top six this season, according to Peter Pawlett.
The Tangerines need to build momentum from scratch after last season’s title-winning campaign was brought to a shuddering halt by the Covid-19 pandemic.
But wide man, Pawlett, doesn’t see any impediments to them doing exactly that – then using it to propel themselves up the table.
“When you win a league like we did, usually you have your celebrations and the momentum carries you right through the summer,” he said.
“For us, it hasn’t been like that because it stopped so abruptly and we didn’t get those celebrations.
“So the onus will be on us to build that momentum again ourselves so we can hit the ground running in the Premiership.
“I’m sure it will come back pretty quickly when everyone is back together training again.
“And the anticipation of games when the fixtures come out for the new season will be another boost for the lads.
“We have missed out on the momentum other teams being promoted usually get but I don’t think it will be a problem.
“There is more than enough motivation within our squad to cope with that and get it back.
“We have a tight-knit squad and the players who can make it a successful season.
“It’s going to be tough but we have the ability in the team to get into the top six.
“You have to set your expectations high, Dundee United is a big club and we want to go into it with a mindset (about) more than just staying up.
“We want to have a real go at it and that’s what we’ll do.”
Pawlett knows what it takes to finish at the top end of the Premiership, having helped Aberdeen do just that in the early years of Derek McInnes’ reign as manager.
Looking at United’s chances this year, he reckons the settled nature of their squad is a big bonus.
He explained: “That will be massive for us.
“There aren’t going to be massive changes, we have only lost two players, so the stability is there.
“That was a factor last season because the majority of the team arrived in January so had that few months together.
“So this summer you’d expect the manager to tinker with things – which is a good thing because you always need one or two new faces – but the fact he won’t need to bring in loads of players helps.
“The stability will stand us in good stead.”
United will return to training on Monday (June 15), albeit in a vastly different format to anything players are accustomed to.
Social distancing will be strictly enforced in small group sessions, whilst regular Covid-19 tests will be undertaken.
However, Pawlett insists he is looking forward to getting a ball at his feet again.
“It will be good to get back to some sort of normality, even though it’s not going to be what we’re used to,” he said.
“We have not had too much detail on exactly what it will look like, we know we’ll be in small groups but the club are working on getting the testing sorted.
“We will get an update from the club in the next few days I’d imagine and hopefully we’ll be back next week.
“It has been a strange few months, I can’t wait to get back going again.
“The first few weeks, I thought it would blow over but it quickly became clear we were in this for the long haul.
“For most of us, this is the longest we’ve been without football in our lives – apart from time spent out injured.
“So it’s going to take a while for everyone to get back up to speed.
“Six weeks seems sensible because although everyone has been working on their fitness at home, the sharpness will be an issue.
“Obviously, it’s taking so much effort to get league matches on we don’t know if we’ll be able to play pre-season friendlies.
“Maybe we will just have to play games amongst ourselves for that, we’ll just have to wait and see.
“The first few games are the ones where you blow the cobwebs away, so it’s going to take time for everyone this summer.
“There are so many things to deal with throughout this.
“It would be strange if the first game is the opening day of the season and until then all we’ve done is play between ourselves.
“But it’s strange times for everyone and football is no different. We’d just have to get on with it.
“The main thing is that football is coming back.
“Watching English teams play again in a couple of weeks will get everyone ready for it again and hopefully we’ll get going as soon as possible.”