Dundee United won’t say it – and they certainly shouldn’t – but there is absolutely no way anyone is going to catch them this season.
That gets clearer by the week – not just that they keep winning but because of the complete inability of the rest of the table to put together the kind of run that will get near the league leaders.
In the past two months, while the Tangerines have been stringing together one of their best-ever runs of form, the rest of the division continue to cut each other’s throats.
After losing 4-0 to Queen of the South, Robbie Neilson’s side remained top of the table and have swiftly extended their lead at the summit to a massive 13 points.
While picking up 24 points from 24 available, the best of the rest have been Dunfermline with 15.
Dundee, having been heading for crisis with three defeats on the bounce, have still picked up the third-highest points tally in the last eight matches with 13 gained.
Ayr were closest to the Tangerines but have only won 10 from the last 24 – the same as Queens and strugglers Partick.
That’s par for the course in the Championship.
The teams are so closely matched that nobody really goes on a lengthy run of results – when somebody does, this is exactly what happens.
To listen to the Tele’s football podcast, Twa Teams One Street, download from Apple Podcasts or Spotify – or head to thetele.co.uk
With the kind of lead they have built up, United can afford to lose four of their remaining 19 matches and it’ll still be impossible for any of the others to catch them.
If they lose five then Inverness will have to win every one of their 19 remaining league matches to topple them – smashing a club record of their own by eight games.
It’s not going to happen.
Only a catastrophic run of form or all their key players being struck down by long-term injuries is going to change the destination of the Championship trophy come the end of the season in May.
The beauty of that is the club can start, and they no doubt already have, to put their plans in place for moving up to the top flight with real confidence.
Most clubs trying to do this will be saying ‘if we go up’ to prospective signings – we’re heading into ‘when’ territory for United.
I expect moves to be made in January to bolster their squad even further.
Any player who does join will be coming into a squad that’s now used to winning every week.
I can only see United getting stronger from here – that’s a terrifying thought for the rest of the Championship.