There’s no underestimating how big a result Saturday’s win over Ross County was for Dundee United.
It was massive, absolutely massive.
And what’s more they put in a performance we all knew was there.
I said last week I felt they could do with a bit more energy about them all over the pitch.
The 2-0 win certainly gave that.
Jeando Fuchs played a big part, driving through the middle of the park but I felt the balance of the midfield was good – something they’ve struggled with this term.
Calum Butcher gave his usual aggression in there with Peter Pawlett adding a bit of quality and Fuchs going box-to-box.
There were good performances all over the park but the main difference in the game was the backline.
Getting back to a clean sheet will be a huge boost for United defenders and I thought Liam Smith and Ryan Edwards were excellent.
I don’t know what manager Micky Mellon changed in the lead-up to the game but the performances of the defensive line seemed to give the rest of the team confidence.
Knowing the guys behind you would defend properly and deal with everything, meant the midfield could push higher up the field.
And you could see from the chances created how much of a positive impact that can have on a team.
Lawrence Shankland showed exactly what he can do if you give him service.
OK, he missed the two big chances in the first half.
But he made up for that with a real striker’s goal to open the scoring.
Just watching his movement to get the better of the defender and you see his class as a goalscorer.
Shankland has had a strange season.
At times he’s just not looked sharp at all.
However, he demonstrated just what will happen if you create chances for him.
You can’t expect strikers to score every chance but give him three good ones in a game and he’ll score every week.
I just hope the win in Dingwall is a lightbulb moment for United.
If you play with high energy, on the front foot then you’ll make things happen.
They all seemed to up the energy and the positivity from the backline allowed the players ahead of them to get at County whenever they could.
I’d imagine there was a real sigh of relief among the players after the final whistle in the Highlands.
However, there is still plenty of work to be done.
They’ve stopped the slide but Mellon will be drilling into them that they ensure this is just the start.
This weekend might be a decent time to face Livingston after their unbeaten run was ended by St Johnstone.
David Martindale’s side have been going great guns lately but they’ll be tested in how they respond. United will fancy they can pick up three points – especially if they repeat Saturday’s efforts.
Frustrating for Dee but call-offs can be positive
DUNDEE won’t be happy to see games getting called off left, right and centre at the moment.
However, an enforced break like this can be a positive, if you take advantage of it.
I saw James McPake had taken his side to the Oriam in Edinburgh for some indoor training in place of the called off Inverness game.
Hopefully, that’s proved very useful in getting more sessions into the likes of Jason Cummings, Paul McMullan and the young defenders.
A wee break might also help with injuries, allow Charlie Adam to take some of the pressure of his body.
What won’t help is the frustration of seeing the other teams in and around them in the Championship picking up results while Dundee aren’t playing.
You also don’t want to be playing catch-up.
We’ve seen before at United where a lot of games in a short period can catch up with you in the play-offs.
It’s up to the Dark Blues to make the best of a frustrating situation, though.
I’ve been trying to wrack my brains for a time like this when I was playing.
All that comes to mind is a game against Hibs that was called off mid-match because of snow while we were already 2-0 up.
That was horrible because we were cruising that day and we’d have to play the whole thing again.
Thankfully, we won the replay as well so it wasn’t so bad.
Getting ridiculous down south
THINGS are getting pretty ridiculous down south with these VAR calls.
I couldn’t believe it when I saw West Ham’s Tomas Soucek given a straight red card for an elbow on Fulham’s Aleksander Mitrovic, that looked completely accidental.
You could accept it if the referee spotted it out of the corner of his eye and got it wrong in the heat of the moment but Mike Dean spent an age agonising over slow motion replays.
More importantly, though, a referee being sent death threats over a decision is horrific. What is wrong with these people?