Dundee United’s top scorer Nicky Clark insists the players are thriving under the weight of fan expectation despite the fact they’re playing in front of empty stadiums.
Clark came off the bench to notch his 10th goal of the season and rescue United a point in stoppage time against Motherwell.
Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Tannadice leaves United sitting fifth in the Premiership table following promotion from the Championship last season.
And, as they prepare to travel to champions Celtic on Wednesday night, Clark insists they are relishing representing the club in the top flight.
“It’s been good. We’re sitting fifth in the league,” the 29-year-old said reflecting on the season so far.
“We’re a newly-promoted team in a hard league so, looking back at it, we’re happy.
“This club should be at the top end of this league.
“The fans expect that and the players expect that as well. So it’s been a good first half to the season and I hope we can continue that.”
Of the matches against the Hoops and Aberdeen this week, he added: “It’s the games you want to play in – against Celtic at Parkhead and then Aberdeen.
“We’ll take the positives from Saturday and, hopefully, we can go and cause a wee upset there.”
Team effort to get the Terrors competing in the top six
Former Rangers forward Clark believes solidifying their place in the top six past the halfway point of the campaign has been a team effort.
He continued: “It’s a bit of everything. We’ve got a really good squad mixed with experience and young boys coming through who all want to do well.
“It’s one of the closest dressing-rooms I’ve been in and it shows that when it gets tough we all get together and fight to the end. We’ve seen that in a few games now.
“There’s good competition in the squad, me and Shanks (Lawrence Shankland) were here last season and we’ve brought in Marc McNulty, another striker who’s a great talent. We’ve got good players up there.
Hitting double figures for the term, although he claims he’s on 11, was a big milestone for Clark who insists he is happy to come off the bench for Micky Mellon’s men.
He argued: “I think I have scored 11 and eight in the league.
“As a striker you always want to score as many as possible and I’ve done that so I’m delighted.
“I didn’t know I was on the bench until the day before the game.
“We got a good result in midweek (2-0 win over Kilmarnock) so we kept the same team. But I came on and scored and I’ve done that most of the season so that’s all you can do.
“It was good to come on and, obviously, get the goal to take the point was good.
“We did have our backs against the wall and they could have scored a couple more so we’ll take the point.”
Clark set to discuss a new deal at Tannadice
Clark’s deal at Tannadice runs out next summer and signalled his intentions to speak to the club about an extension this week.
He said: “It’s up in the summer. Obviously, you can do pre-contract stuff in January so we’ll just need to see what happens over the next few days and take it from there.”