Dundee United must rediscover their ‘mojo’ — quickly!

Tony Andreu is surrounded by his Dundee United team-mates after scoring against Hibs back in December.

Whether or not defeat and an abject performance at Falkirk on Saturday leaves Dundee United as a team in crisis might be up for debate.

What isn’t, is the fact the Tangerines’ season has reached a critical point.

After a miserable start to 2017, Ray McKinnon’s men have to regain their mojo, and fast, to prevent the next three months being a painful and disappointing end to the campaign.

A 14-game unbeaten run before Christmas now seems a distant memory as United have slumped to just one win in the last seven outings.

That poor form has seen them dumped from the Scottish Cup in ignominious fashion and, by this weekend, there’s every chance it will mean they trail leaders Hibs by a worrying nine points in the Championship promotion race.

As the Hibees seemingly go from strength to strength, it’s hard to imagine they won’t make good use of United’s league inactivity and beat lowly Raith Rovers when they head for Easter Road on Saturday.

Raith are, after all, the only team United have managed to better since they went to the top of the division via victory over St Mirren at Christmas.

Since then, results and performances have been a concern. After the surprise Hogmanay loss at Dumbarton, the year started just as badly with defeat at Hibs in a one-sided game.

A point was taken from the next fixture, at home to Queen of the South but, given that involved a late fight-back from 3-1 down, it was hardly a source of encouragement.

Then came the 6-2 cup disaster at Ross County, though there were some signs of recovery as a bad January ended with a point from a trip to Dunfermline that could easily have been three.

It seemed normal service had finally been restored when Raith were comfortably beaten 3-0 at Tannadice.

On reflection, that result maybe had more to do with where the Fifers were. Defeat just a few days later to Morton cost manager Gary Locke his job and he’s left behind a team even lower on confidence than United.

That all still wasn’t well was apparent in just a few minutes at Falkirk. A team depleted by key men Cammy Bell and William Edjenguele being unavailable was never at the races.

The 3-0 final score in no way flattered the Bairns and had they added another couple of goals — something they constantly threatened to do — that would still have been the case.

That has to be as worrying for Arabs as it was infuriating for the manager. This is not the time of a season any team wants to be in bad form and a continuation for any length of time will be fatal.

Perhaps, at this point, a dose of reality should be injected. After relegation last year, this was always going to be a difficult time and last summer it was clear a complete overhaul of the squad was required.

With a tight budget, that was never going to be easy, but hopes it could be done quicker than expect were lifted by those pre-Christmas results.

In truth, even then performances were not always the best. However, what the team had, but lacks now, was the ability to find a way to win.

And that’s what they have to rediscover, hopefully starting with this weekend’s Challenge Cup semi-final at Queen of the South.

In the big scheme of things, that competition is probably an unwanted distraction. If United were to win that cup but miss out on promotion, no one would regard it as a consolation.

Right now, though, this is a team that needs a win, any win. If McKinnon’s men can get one down at Palmerston, they might just have their mojo back.