Hard knocks via play-offs won’t stop Dundee United going up to Premiership believes Gillespie

Dundee United midfielder Grant Gillespie is confident of their chances in the play-offs.

Grant Gillespie has drummed into his Dundee United team-mates there is no better feeling than winning promotion via the play-offs.

And whatever setbacks you suffer along the way, it is possible so long as you keep believing the route to the top flight remains open.

Gillespie should know, he’s been there and done it with Hamilton Accies despite some tough knocks.

Back in 2014, the midfielder was part of the Accies line-up that blew their chances of automatic promotion when they suffered a shock 4-1 defeat at Dumbarton on the penultimate day of the regular season.

After seeing Dundee celebrating a week later, they battled to the play-off final only to look dead and buried after a 2-0 first-leg loss at home to Hibs.

On a remarkable day in front of a full house at Easter Road, they cancelled out the deficit before claiming a Premiership place via a dramatic penalty shoot-out.

Gillespie played every minute of that play-off campaign and knows exactly what it takes.

That’s why he believes the Tangerines can bounce back from a post-Christmas slump and get back to the Premiership.

Grant Gillespie challenges ex-Terror Cammy Smith on Tuesday night.

“I say to the boys in here to never give up, never think it’s over because anything can happen,” said the 26-year-old.

“The way we did it with Accies, the same can happen here and it is a great feeling.

“My experience is if you can go into the play-offs with a bit of momentum it sets you up really well.

“I played a lot when Hamilton went up through the play-offs. I played against Falkirk in the semis and then we went on to play Hibs in the final.

“It was a great way to go up after we lost out on automatic promotion on the last day to that mob up the road.

“Second last game of the season we lost 4-1 to Dumbarton and that took our own fate out of our hands.

“It was a blow but the disappointment didn’t stop us beating Morton 10-2 in the final game and we took that form into the play-offs.

“Then we had another blow when we lost 2-0 in the first leg of the final against Hibs at home but we never felt anything other than we were going to achieve promotion.

“That was important. When you lose you reflect on what you could have done better and make sure the mistakes don’t happen again.

“That’s what we did at Accies and it’s what we did here between last Saturday at Dumbarton and Tuesday against St Mirren.”

Gillespie believes that midweek victory over the champions-elect can prove a turning point for Csaba Laszlo’s men.

“It was a massive win for us. Obviously we knew the circumstances surrounding the game and we knew we just had to focus on ourselves.

“We knew from a poor display at Dumbarton we had to give a big performance against St Mirren and every one of us did that.

“We stopped them winning the title on our own pitch, that was a must, and I think we probably had the better of the clear-cut chances. They did have some pressure but I didn’t feel they were able to break us down. We felt comfortable within the game.

“We didn’t feel as if they were ever going to score and I think we just had to keep concentrating. It was a professional performance. We went 1-0 up and we saw the game out.

“We take confidence, definitely. We have to take the positives from it and take them into the Falkirk game.”

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