Dundee United’s highly-impressive start to their league campaign has inevitably come with plenty hype – and understandably so.
Many, this writer included, believe four wins on the bounce in the Championship can be taken as a strong indication that, despite Scotland’s second tier traditionally being one of the toughest divisions around to get out of, for the Tangerines this season it could be a procession.
And, should they win at Ayr United this weekend, that belief will hardly be tempered any. Three points at Somerset Park would arguably mean that, by mid-September, United had beaten all of their potential promotion rivals.
In some cases, like Inverness Caley Thistle and Dundee, they have beaten them well, while the away successes at Partick and Dunfermline have been just as impressive in other ways.
Victory over the Honest Men would also mean 15 points from 15 so far and a minimum of a five-point lead up at the top of the table.
Right now, it would be a brave pundit who’d bet against that being the case, particularly with in-form striker Lawrence Shankland returning to his old stomping ground.
Shankland is a player who’s shown he loves to rise to the occasion and goals from him this weekend look highly likely.
His form so far has only added to that hype and the belief among fans is that, with a fit Shankland firing on all cylinders, there is no way their team is going to get caught this term.
Just as big, but often unnoticed, a reason for the current optimism, however, should be the manner in which boss Robbie Neilson has gone about his business.
Since he was able to start bringing in his own players back in January, Neilson has signed very well. Shankland, of course, is proof of that, but arrivals like the two Marks, defenders Connolly and Reynolds, Peter Pawlett and right-back Liam Smith have been major boosts as well.
And while, derby doubles apart, Calum Butcher’s combative midfield style is unlikely to grab the same headlines as Shankland’s goals, his influence in the middle of the park is proving almost as important as the striker’s up top.
Importantly, it’s not just the quality of those players that’s been key but they way they’ve fitted into the manager’s plan for his team.
In recent times some good players have arrived at Tannadice but too often it’s been hard to see where they fitted in the line-up.
By contrast, Neilson has shown himself to be adept at signing square pegs for square holes and, accordingly, now has the most fluent side in the second tier.
Possibly an even bigger strength right now, though, is his ability to stay calm and collected whatever way results have gone.
That’s allowed him to use the blips so far – the Betfred Cup loss to East Fife and Saturday’s Challenge Cup defeat against Arbroath – to his advantage.
In the days following each success he’s stressed, as good as things look, this team remains a work in progress and, after those reversals, he’s quietly said “I told you so”.
It shows, however carried away some of us may be getting, his feet remain firmly on the ground.
And, along with his coaching, he’s making sure the same goes for all his players.
Even this early in the campaign, the number of times Neilson and assistant bosses Gordon Forrest and Lee McCulloch have said “nothing’s been achieved yet” has made them sound like broken records.
However, it’s keeping the players on their toes and that can only be bad news for the rest of the Championship.