Sam Stanton is looking for Dundee United to make another major statement when they head for Championship strugglers Falkirk today.
After defeat in the top-of-the-table clash at St Mirren a week ago that left them trailing the automatic promotion spot by five points, it was important the Tangerines showed that first league reversal under Csaba Laszlo was no more than a blip and they remain serious title contenders.
Versatile midfielder Stanton believes they did that via the 4-1 Tannadice success against Brechin City on Tuesday.
While some might point out given Brechin haven’t won in the league all season and are doomed to relegation, that kind of victory was the least that could be expected.
United were, though, only the second team to put four past the Glebe Parkers and the 23-year-old believes the quality of the performance sent out a message to the rest of the division, particularly after injuries having hit them hard.
“I’ve said before we have good quality throughout the squad and regardless of who was out on the pitch I was confident we could get a result,” he said.
“The players we’ve lost through injury, it was disappointing because they are big players for us, but what Tuesday against Brechin showed is we have the quality to get results.
“And in the 1-0 and 1-1 in the two games before, they gave us hard games. Even on Tuesday when we went down to 10 men in the second half it wasn’t easy but we managed to control the game and get a good win.
“It was also important we bounced back from St Mirren with a win. We were disappointing against them and after the game we were all gutted, but it was important we got back to winning right away.”
As those words suggest, he was not surprised by the immediate return to form and points to the previously good run that had produced six wins and a draw in the league.
“Over the last while that’s the only game we’ve lost and we have been playing well. We were even doing well in the first half at St Mirren and if we’d got the first goal we could have gone on and won.
“We were good against Brechin and now we go to Falkirk feeling positive. We had a very good performance against them in the manager’s first league game. Hopefully, we can put in the same performance and get the result.”
That 3-0 win over the Bairns back in mid-November was arguably the best 90-minutes display United have produced this season. It also introduced the fans at Tannadice to Laszlo’s preferred passing style of football. It’s a way of playing that’s made Stanton and his team-mates look forward to reporting for work.
“The manager’s style of play is good and it’s brilliant as a player to get as much of the ball as we do. He wants us to keep the ball and control games, that’s what we try to do and in most of the games so far I think we have.
“He gets over what he wants to say very well. He engages with the boys and that’s good.”
The season-ending injury suffered by Fraser Fyvie has seen Stanton moved into the middle of the park.
Against Falkirk the combination of the arrival of new signing Craig Slater and Paul McMullan’s suspension could see him back out wide. Whichever role he’s handed, it won’t be a problem.
“I will play anywhere for the team. I do prefer to play in the middle of the park, but if I’m used out wide or at No 10 — I don’t mind.”