They have made swift progress in recent times but Dundee United Women’s manager Gavin Beith feels they are now at a stage where the club belong as they prepare to make their Scottish Women’s Premier League (SWPL) debut.
United will take to the pitch at the GA Arena tomorrow afternoon and make their SWPL 2 bow against local rivals St Johnstone.
These kind of occasions have been four years in the making. And Beith has been there every step of the way since the club’s foundation in 2015, leading them to promotion to the SWFL Division 1 North in 2016 before winning that league last year.
Although aware of the challenges that face them at this level, the 37-year-old former Dundee player feels his squad are more than ready to make the step up to the second tier against the likes of Saints, Hamilton, Hearts and Kilmarnock.
“Without being disrespectful to the league below, that is all forgotten about and the real work starts now,” Beith said.
“In that league we should be winning the vast majority of games and we did.
“I expect to win games but we know it’s a step up.
“There are a lot of really good teams and that is where we want to be.
“You want to step up and tomorrow afternoon against St Johnstone is one of those.
“All the games are going to be really difficult to win.
“However, that’s the reason why we are committed to doing this and the team is up for it every week, whoever the opposition.”
Since celebrating promotion at Tannadice last October with a 7-2 win over Cove Rangers Ladies, witnessed by over 400 fans, Beith has been busy adding to the squad.
He hopes that combination of a new season, new players and the recent success of Scotland’s national team qualifying for this summer’s World Cup can see crowds increase for the Tangerines this term.
He added: “We have the same core of the squad that won promotion last season but we’ve added some quality with the likes of Hannah Coyler, Jenna Penman, Taylor Brackin and Georgia Carter.
“We’ve had them in for a while now but they are gelling well and are a really nice bunch.
“They have a bit of fire in their bellies and they know it’s going to be a step up but it will be a good experience.
“It’s a massive year for women’s football. The last two or three years the publicity around the game has got bigger and bigger.
“We hope that encourages fans to come out and support the girls.
“They knock their pans in every time they play and they’re just doing it for the love of the game.”
And former Arbroath, Brechin City and Forfar midfielder Beith can’t wait to meet the Perth side for the first time and boss his first derby as a manager.
“We haven’t really stopped since last season ended, the girls don’t want to,” he added.
“We are looking forward to the challenge of St Johnstone tomorrow.
“We have never had a derby or played Saints so it will be something extra for both teams, we have to play the game.
“The derby element is special. Whenever we play against a side that is local it adds to the occasion.”
Kick-off tomorrow at the GA Arena is 4pm with free entry to all.