Dundee’s victory over Hearts at the weekend has set up a barnstorming end to the season in the Championship.
My fear going into the game was the Jambos would continue their relentless form and come away with victory from Dens Park.
That would certainly, in my eyes anyway, have as good as secured top spot for the Tynecastle club.
They would’ve been 11 points clear of Dundee, eight in front of Dunfermline, with a game in hand and 17 matches to go.
That is a lot of time for things to go wrong. However, the way they’ve dispatched teams this season, particularly at home, I couldn’t see them dropping enough points had they won on Saturday.
Now, thankfully, the rest of the season won’t be a procession after Dundee deservedly won the contest.
There was a different feel about this game to any other this season in seeing the way the Dark Blues players went about things.
Much has been made of the Shaun Byrne tackle and Robbie Neilson’s call for a red card.
It was a meaty one but not over the top and a yellow was right.
What it did was bring out the aggression in his team-mates.
I don’t mean to say they just started kicking boys, they were aggressive on the ball and took the game to Hearts.
They were clearly smarting from the 6-2 embarrassment earlier in the season and rightly so.
However, they used that anger in the correct manner and have, hopefully, ignited their season once more.
Just like my colleague Lee Wilkie said yesterday, now they need to continue that sort of level for the rest of the campaign.
The Dundee players are bursting with confidence.
They have the best player in the league in Charlie Adam and goals flowing left, right and centre right now.
I expect them to see off Bonnyrigg Rose this weekend in the Scottish Cup.
Then going into the Raith clash next Tuesday they have to back up the three points against Hearts with another victory.
The Jambos have a tough one against Dunfermline – whatever the result there, if Dundee get a win they steal a march on at least one of their nearest rivals.
However, more important is a string of positive results.
Momentum is the word and it’s certainly what James McPake and his side need.
If they are to have any chance of toppling Hearts at the Championship summit come the end of April they’ll need to put together a sustained run of form.
The next seven league matches will make or break any potential title charge.
That’s when they face the Jambos once more, back at Tynecastle.
Between now and then I’d say they need to win at least three more points than Robbie Neilson’s men.
That’s a tall ask but if Dundee keep playing like they did on Saturday, they’ll do it.
IT IS crunch time in the season for Dundee United.
They have negotiated a very tricky run of fixtures around Christmas very well and set themselves up for the last 16 games in a tidy little position.
Sitting sixth in the Premiership in the first season back at this point is a job well done.
So far anyway.
I know there are grumbles about the way they are playing and lack of goals being scored.
However, that can improve and looking at the situation in black and white it’s difficult to be anything but encouraged.
Particularly if you think back where they’ve been for the past four years.
The next run of fixtures are where United can define their season.
Do they maintain their stranglehold on the top six? Or do they get dragged back into a relegation battle?
My money is on the first of those options, though we’ve seen teams get on a bad run of results at the wrong time before.
St Johnstone, Hamilton, St Mirren, Motherwell and then Ross County is the next five.
All of those clubs are below United in the table.
That means, of course, they are all winnable.
More importantly, it’s a chance to open up some daylight between themselves and the teams scrapping at the bottom.
This weekend is a big one against Saints – first goal wins it for me.
IT was a very strange weekend for me – both my teams Queen of the South and Man U made big strides.
On top of that Dundee won a big game and United earned a very decent point at Aberdeen.
I’ve forgotten what following successful football teams is like recently.
Queens have suddenly plucked two great results out of nowhere and shot up the Championship table while Man U are making Liverpool very worried. I just love to see it.
There’s still plenty of time for all of this to go back to normal but it’s good to bask in the glow of progress all round for once.