Given how much is riding on their remaining league fixtures, Dundee’s Scottish Cup clash against St Johnstone on Saturday could be viewed as a hindrance.
They’ll have been delighted after coming back to beat Dunfermline 3-2 on Saturday and will be itching for another Championship match, but they’ll go into the Saints clash full of confidence and relish the opportunity to show what they’re all about.
It’s a good chance for the Dark Blues to see where they’re at as they go up against top-quality Premiership opposition.
It’ll be a tough afternoon for the Dee at Dens Park because Callum Davidson has his side purring at the moment.
Over the past six months they’ve improved a lot, winning the Betfred Cup and dramatically securing a top-six finish, and look a really good side.
I think Dundee can give them a few issues, though, if they can get their best creative players on the ball and get at them.
The Perth men will be the big favourites to win but, with it being a Tayside derby, it should be quite an open game.
If they were to get to the play-offs and be up against a Premiership team, James McPake will be using this as an opportunity to see what kind of quality they’d face and where his team are at.
Dundee have got a good enough squad for the play-offs, they’re really inconsistent but, on their day, they’ve proven against the likes of Hearts and the Pars at the weekend they can boss good teams.
It’ll be interesting to see how the manager goes about it because, obviously, the league is the main focus and they’ve been going well.
Does he look to keep that momentum going or does he try to give boys like Charlie Adam game time?
I think he’ll make a couple of changes.
Whatever happens, though, securing second spot is still the top priority.
They showed good character in fighting back from two goals down (both were really badly defended it must be said) to pick up a crucial three points against promotion rivals Dunfermline.
They couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start and it felt like they were going back to square one.
However, Dundee are clearly fighting for their manager and each other. Fair play to them for that.
They were the better team after going two down and the rest of the game was actually a really good performance.
The defending will still be worrying McPake and the coaching staff but the fact they’ve dug deep, battled and have found a decent balance will please them.
They create a lot of chances and cause teams problems.
Lee Ashcroft is flying right now and looking really dangerous at every set-piece, Danny Mullen added a spark and both wingers, Paul McMullan and Declan McDaid, were excellent.
Long may it continue.
We’ve seen in the past how success in cup competitions can spur on a club like Dundee United.
With little left to play for in the Premiership, putting a lot of focus and importance on having a good run in the Scottish Cup could benefit the Terrors in the long run.
I know that’s what happened in my time at the club when we made the 2008 League Cup Final and then won the Scottish in 2010.
The club then had a successful period off the back of that, regularly making the top six, European football and contesting big semi-final and final clashes.
That’s, obviously, where the Tangerines want to be again in the future.
For the here and now, though, the focus has to be on dealing with Partick Thistle.
When the League One Jags come to Tannadice on Saturday, United will be in the unusual position of being huge favourites.
It’s not something they’ll have been used to in recent times after returning to the top flight this season but I’m sure boss Micky Mellon will have them well prepared.
They struggled in the Betfred Cup group stages earlier in the season, particularly when they lost to Peterhead, when they were in that strange position of being the favourites.
They’re a different team now, though. They look a lot more confident and, if they play like we know they can, they’ll have no problems.
Despite two draws to open their World Cup qualifying campaign, I still feel Scotland have it all to play for if they can get big results.
It was going to be a tough ask from day one, and not winning in Israel on Sunday night doesn’t help the situation, because you can see how tight the group is going to be.
Denmark and Austria are, obviously, good teams and Israel, credit to them, are a decent side.
They showed that in the first half in Tel-Aviv in the 1-1 divide.
I do, however, feel Scotland made them look better than they are and showed a little too much respect.
We sat off and can’t do that again.