It may have ended on a low note but Dundee United’s rollercoaster of a season in the Championship has seen plenty of highs along the way.
A big part of that has been the emergence of Paul McMullan – not just as a key player for the Tangerines but one of the best in the Championship.
Strikers Stephen Dobbie and Lawrence Shankland grabbed all the headlines for their extraordinary goalscoring exploits throughout the campaign but McMullan proved himself to be a massive part of the Tangerines’ run that brought them within 12 yards of promotion.
Despite starting the campaign out of favour and told by ex-boss Csaba Laszlo he was free to leave, McMullan has got better and better as the term has gone on.
And that’s led him to being awarded the ‘prestigious’ Tele Sport Player of the Year for Dundee United.
When told the big news, the 23-year-old said: “That’s much appreciated!
“It’s good to get some recognition at the end of the season because it means you have done well. It’s nice.
“I didn’t have the start I would have wanted with the old manager being in and how that went but since the new manager has come in I feel I have performed consistently and been at a good level.
“That’s something I want to keep up.
“I wouldn’t say it satisfies me more but I always knew I was good enough to play here and could have a good, positive impact on this team. That was one of the main reasons in the summer I didn’t move on.
“I did think I’d get a chance and I would be able to show that.
“Robbie Neilson has come in and given me that chance – hopefully, now I can push on.
“I’m not the type of person that’s going to give up – I was still working hard in training and just being ready for when my chance came. I’m glad it has.”
The season may not have finished with the success the Tangerines were craving but, for McMullan, the end to the campaign has made him a key player.
And that’s likely to continue into next year as United hope to finally find their way out of the Championship at the fourth time of asking.
Counted up from all the player ratings given out by our football writers over the season, McMullan came out on top with an average of 6.83 out of 10.
He pipped Pavol Safranko who came in second with 6.7 over the campaign and then Nicky Clark in third.
Then was Sam Stanton and Fraser Aird in fifth – the Canadian international had a fine first half of the campaign at Tannadice, picking up a raft of assists before being packed out on loan to Queen of the South in January.
In equal sixth were Rachid Bouhenna and Callum Booth with the rest of the list being Paul Watson, Jamie Robson, Freddy Frans and then Benjy Siegrist.
McMullan’s season survived the early benching by Csaba Laszlo and then a horror show against Ross County in a home 5-1 demolition back in September where he wasn’t the only one getting three out of 10.
Swiftly after the appointment of Robbie Neilson, though, the former Celtic, St Mirren and Dunfermline winger started to motor and was Man of the Match against Partick in Robbie’s first game.
As the season came to a close, the 23-year-old grabbed four goals in five games to propel the Tangerines into second place.
He continued his good form throughout the play-offs but was unable to inspire his side to victory at the final hurdle as they were edged out by St Mirren at the weekend.