Paul McMullan has issued a rallying call to his Dundee United team-mates ahead of the “biggest game of the season” following a sickener at the weekend.
Anything but victory at the Global Energy Stadium on Friday night will surely end any lingering Tangerine hopes of pipping Ross County to the Championship title.
The Staggies lead the way at the top of the table going into the contest after a key win over Highland rivals Inverness last night put them five points clear.
That’s after United passed up the opportunity to grab top spot, even if for just a few days, as they failed to take advantage of County’s defeat at bottom side Alloa last Saturday.
They themselves were beaten 2-1 at home by struggling Queen of the South that same afternoon to remain in second place.
Now they must win in Dingwall to have any chance of finishing top of the Championship come the end of the season – and with it, automatic promotion.
McMullan said: “It’s the biggest game of the season.
“We know what we have to do up there, we have to win, and that’s all we can look at.
“At Dundee United, it’s not a club where you go anywhere trying to get a point.
“We go to try to win every game, that’s the only thing in the lads’ minds this week as we prepare for Friday.
“It would have been nice if they slipped up last night but we can only look at ourselves.
“It makes no odds if they were to get beat somewhere and then we go up there and make a mistake so we have to prepare as well as we can and go up there as ready as we can be.”
Against Queen of the South on Saturday, a side coming into the game on the back of a run of seven-straight defeats, McMullan admits the United players were “sick” with the way the game went.
After dominating the opening period, the Tangerines failed to find the key opening goal and allowed the Doonhamers the chance to grab two quick-fire goals after half-time that gave them victory.
Chances came and went throughout the contest without finding the finish, something the 23-year-old knows they’ll have to improve on at Ross County if they are to get the win they crave.
He said: “Saturday was definitely a chance missed.
“We were sick with the way the game went, we didn’t take our chances and then we heard Ross County had slipped up which hurt.
“At the end of the day, it’s still the same gap, though, and we have to go there on Friday and win.
“I did think we played well despite the result.
“We created a lot of chances but it was one of those days where balls are hitting the post and then coming back and landing in the goalie’s hands, things like that.
“It was unbelievable at times but we need to rally now after that and win on Friday.
“On another day we might come away with four or five goals.
“It was one of those days – hopefully we don’t have any more of those days between now and the end of the season!
“It hurts to lose but we did play well and we can, hopefully, take that performance into the game on Friday night – if we can take a couple of those chances then that will, hopefully, see us good.”
Saturday was a clear indication there are no easy games in the Championship with three of the bottom four picking up victories.
“Every team is playing for something, you can see that,” McMullan added.
“Everybody is scrapping and fighting, there won’t be any easy games between now and the end of the season.”