Circumstance has made Dundee United’s bid for promotion a battle but attacker Peter Pawlett believes there is real quality in the Tannadice dressing-room.
And the former Aberdeen man is convinced once Robbie Neilson’s squad have had a pre-season together, goals will really start to flow for the Tangerines.
United’s comeback victory over Ayr United on Friday night means each of their last nine league wins have been by a one-goal margin.
On a couple of occasions, most notably at Ross County earlier this month, the failure to build bigger leads has turned what should have been wins into draws that have seen points dropped.
But when he looks at the attacking talent available to manager Robbie Neilson, Pawlett is in no doubt that, in time, more convincing wins will come.
“I think it has been a season where we should have put more teams to bed, particularly in the first half of games,” he said.
“I think the Morton game here sticks in my mind, my first game. We were 2-0 up in the first half and well on top but even then we were fighting for the points by the end.
“We could have won a few games like that by more goals and I think that will come in time. It’s maybe a bit of a thing people are thinking about now, you know we only win by one goal but once we get over that barrier we can relax a bit more and get that two or three goals up.
“And pre-season is massive I think, for fitness as well. Once you get that three or four weeks of hard work it sets you up for the season.Then you have games where the result doesn’t matter as much and you can work on your fitness and getting to know each other.
“When you come in January, like a lot of us have, you don’t have time to build these things up, you’ve got to be at it.
“It’s not a case of playing well, it’s a case of just winning games.
“We’ve did OK, won a fair few games and made a little challenge but I think there is more to come. I think we can finish the season strongly and build from there.”
And he doesn’t need to think too long when it comes to explaining why he’s confident about that.
“I think if you look at the attacking players we have, you see there are goals there,” he added.
“Big Osman Sow started the other night and once he gets fully fit, because he has struggled with injuries and it will take him a bit of time, he will do well. You see in training every day the quality he’s got. I played with him at MK Dons so I know he’s top quality.
“Then you have Pavol Safranko and Nicky Clark, and Paul McMullan who was unbelievable the other night, so we’ve got good attacking options.
“I think if we all play on the front foot we are a very good dangerous side and I don’t think many can handle that kind of pace we have.”
While United remain a work in progress, Pawlett knows what’s expected of them between now and the end of the campaign – promotion.
That means finding a way to win games whether or not everything is going to plan and, on that score, he took great encouragement from Friday’s win over Ayr that all but secured second place.
“I think we’ve shown good character. We were disappointed with the first-half performances, we started OK but we didn’t continue the pressure and they kind of came into the game and got ahead.
“We showed good character second half to get the victory. That’s important with what’s to come.
“We’ve had times this season when we’ve lost goals and we’ve not stood up to it but to come from 1-0 down and win against Ayr, who were close behind us in the league and they have a game in hand as well, was important.”