Dundee United boss Micky Mellon believes they should be ‘pleased’ with their performance against Rangers yesterday despite falling to a 4-1 defeat at Ibrox.
Goals from Ianis Hagi, Ryan Kent, Joe Aribo and a freak Alfredo Morelos effort meant the league leaders went 18 points clear at the top of the Premiership.
Marc McNulty’s late consolation was the least the Terrors deserved for their display as they dominated the opening half an hour.
That they more than held their own in the early stages is something gaffer Mellon was keen to stress.
“The whole first half, I would argue with anybody, there was no difference between the two teams,” he said.
“I’d say we were the better team in the first half an hour and created all the chances.
“I would defend my boys and be honest with them. Their heads never went down.
“The game became about us getting out of the 18-yard box and blocking things and putting the ball under pressure.
“You’d expect to have to do that at Rangers. They kept going and going.
“They stayed relentless but, yeah, they went in at half time disappointed with the goals we gave away.
“I had to calm them down and speak about detail.
“We lose a crazy goal in the second half but that’s what happens when you come to places like this.”
“They’re going to Ibrox and, for long periods, looking a good side”
United, sitting in seventh spot, remain in the hunt for a top-six spot with three games to go until the split.
Mellon praised his players for the season they’ve had so far following promotion from the Championship.
He continued: “It’s a development job. These boys have come up to this level and we’re all finding it’s a bigger ask than what they were used to last year.
“The pleasing thing is, we’re seeing the development in front of our own eyes because this was a team that didn’t play at this level last year and they’re going to Ibrox and, for long periods, looking a good side.
“We’ve got to deal with the detail and get better at that. The players can be pleased at the performances and the improvements shown.
“We’ll keep driving them on to get better and better. We have the appetite to go and do that.”