Mark Reynolds says the pressure is only going to increase on Dundee United as the season nears its end but he’s backed the Tangerines to embrace it by running down leaders Ross County.
The Staggies have a five-point advantage on Reynolds & Co. going into United’s final 10 matches of the campaign and the on-loan Aberdeen man expects the intensity to increase game by game in the race to promotion.
He said: “You need to embrace the pressure.
“If you are in a team that’s got aspirations to go up and compete in the Premiership you need to deal with pressure.
“There are players that don’t deal with that but they don’t play in big teams.
“We have a good enough dressing-room and boys who want it and are used to playing under pressure in big games.
“Everyone has the capability of thriving in it and that’s what we need to do.
“We just need to keep on winning. Ross County will just keep doing what they do but the good thing is we play them twice so it can still be in our hands.
“If we beat them in those games then it starts to put the pressure on but we still need them to slip up to make up the eight points.
“We’ve left ourselves a lot to do but all we can do is win the games in front of us.
“Regardless of who it is, every game will be huge and three points will be massive.”
After the disappointment of losing Sunday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final against Inverness, United are targeting an immediate return to their recent good league form with 10 points picked up from their last 12 available.
They take on bottom side Partick Thistle this weekend at Firhill and Reynolds has urged the Terrors to “step up” and grab the three points.
He added: “It was disappointing on Sunday and the boys were hurting – it’s right we feel that disappointment and let it sink in before getting back to training yesterday and then focus on the league.
“We realise that was a chance to get in a semi-final but the next 10 games will be like cup finals.
“There will be pressure, teams will try to stop us, they’ll make it horrible and we’ll be a scalp.
“Teams will want to take points off us but we need to deal with that, step up and find ways to beat them.
“If we keep winning then the pressure will increase and increase and it’ll get harder and harder but we need to deal with that.
“We need to step up and, if we do that, then we’ll have a good chance.”
After a testing double header against Inverness Caley Thistle last week with a league win followed by that cup defeat, Reynolds expects the Highlanders to be a handful for their semi-final opponents – whether it’s this weekend’s opponents Partick or Premiership Hearts.
He said: “Inverness are a big physical team – they put the ball up the park and play off the back of it and they have good players in amongst that.
“Last Tuesday I thought we stood up to that and we won more balls, picked up more seconds and did enough to keep them out.
“We didn’t do that on Sunday, we were second to too many balls.
“Inverness can do that to teams. They will cause problems.”
Reynolds, meanwhile, is happy to see no astroturf surfaces on the horizon after missing recent away trips to Queen of the South and Falkirk on physio’s orders.
“That’s the last game on plastic pitches so, unless we go to the play-offs and have to play on one it’ll be fine.
“It was just too early, that’s me not long back from a cruciate ligament injury so the advice from the physios was not to play on it and not risk it.
“They were the guys that got me back so it would be daft not to listen to them.”