There is a confidence to Dundee United kid Archie Meekison that belies his tender years.
It’s not the cocky, arrogance of youth, though; it is a quiet and mature sense of self-belief with which the midfielder carries himself.
His age, one of United’s older academy debutants this season at 19, probably plays a part in that aura.
Meekison has already done the rounds, with loan spells at Cove Rangers and Spartans in recent seasons, and is ready to kick on after notching his first goal for the Tangerines against Motherwell on Wednesday night.
‘It was a big occasion for me’
“It was a very happy moment for me to come on and make a difference by scoring a goal,” he said, speaking after the 2-2 draw.
“It’s always what you want to do when you come on as a young kid so I’m buzzing.
“I’m a more creative midfielder, good on the ball and stuff like that I’d say.
“I want to get up there and affect things in forward areas.
“Whether that’s with assists or goals, it’s something I’ll always look to do.”
Meekison proud to finally pull on tangerine at Tannadice
Meekison has been at Tannadice for 12 years so knows a little bit about the club.
The Fifer admits it was a shame he wasn’t able to make his first-team bow in front of fans but expressed his pride at pulling on tangerine, regardless.
“That’s a big part of the experience but it’s a shame we can’t have the fans there,” Meekison added.
“We’ve just got to make the most of it.
“I’m from Fife and I’d say I’m a United fan because I’ve been here since I was seven.
“It’s a proud moment to pull on the tangerine jersey. I think people underestimate how big this club is.
“As a young boy coming through, having always been here, it’s a big moment for me to make my first team debut properly.
“My plan is absolutely to get more games next season. I want to hit the ground running and see where it takes me.”
Archie – the loan star kid
If he is to fulfil his aim of becoming a regular in United’s top team next time out, Meekison knows his spells on loan in the lower leagues will have helped him along the way.
“They absolutely benefited me,” he asserted.
“With Spartans it was a different experience because, for me, to go away out on loan, the decision was about playing men’s football.
Starts: 1 ✅ Goals: 1 ✅
— Dundee United FC (@dundeeunitedfc) May 12, 2021
“To get that physical aspect, I’ve always been smaller and slight, was important because it’s what I needed to develop on.
“I’ve come back in, been in and around the first team and had to show I’d improved from the loan.
“It was a great loan at Spartans.”
Current crop can be United’s spine moving forward
It’s clear that kids are the future at Tannadice and, in Meekison, they may just have found a strong midfield vertebra to build a solid spine around.
That is his hope, at least, and one that felt all the more real as he surveyed his surroundings in midweek.
In front of him was Louis Appere, behind Kerr Smith and on the flanks Logan Chalmers.
All of differing ages and stages in their development but with one thing in common – they are all Tangerines academy products.
“This is what the club’s all about at Dundee United,” he mused.
“We’re all about that academy process and always been known for having a great academy here.
“There’s players like me and they’ve had quite a lot of people involved in the first-team squad this season.
“I think that’s really important to see that pathway. The coaches and staff need to take a lot of credit for that.
“The boys have put in the hard work to get to the first team.
“I think sometimes people forget, especially when you go over the age of 21, you’re still a young boy that’s come through the academy.
“I think that’s definitely the club’s philosophy – to see these young boys become the spine of the team.
“It should be our future, the club’s future.”