Friday night is a golden chance for Dundee United to send a crystal clear signal to the rest of the Championship that they really mean business this season.
Backing up a superb victory over chasing Inverness Caley Thistle at the weekend by getting a win over their local rivals on their own patch will leave the rest of the division in no doubt about who is the strongest side around.
There have been questions raised in recent weeks over the Tangerines’ ability to go to tough venues and get the wins they’ll need to top the second tier come May.
Sitting watching them at a wet and windy Caledonian Stadium on Saturday, I was left in no doubt they had answered those questions emphatically (see video below).
They showed a bit of everything – the obvious talent up front in Lawrence Shankland, though he didn’t have his best game, backed up by the guile of Nicky Clark, the strength in the middle of the park through Calum Butcher and a really solid backline.
The scoreline didn’t tell the whole story.
Though it ended up a comfortable 3-0 win after goals from Clark and Shankland in the closing stages, Robbie Neilson’s men had to show a bit of dig, particularly in the second half when Caley Thistle upped the pressure.
They created few chances, though, and that’s down to the really solid defending throughout from the backline of Mark Reynolds, Paul Watson, Jamie Robson and Liam Smith.
Keep that up and Dundee, though they have been building up a head of steam themselves and have plenty quality about them, will find it difficult to find a route to goal.
For me, that’s United’s most important part of their team on Friday night – centre-back.
With Mark Connolly returning after a couple of months out, there’s a decision for Robbie to make – throw him back in or stick with Watson to partner Reynolds.
If it was me, I’d stick with Watson after a really good display in the Highlands, with Connolly unlikely to be properly up to speed just yet.
The Dark Blues have begun to show some teeth in attack in recent weeks with Kane Hemmings on the goal trail along with Declan McDaid and Paul McGowan in the last few games.
Graham Dorrans is a serious danger, too.
United know they have firepower up top – keep it tight at the back and they could be celebrating a major victory in their promotion tilt.