To many on the outside, after a poor run in the Betfred Cup group stages, there has to be something of a cloud hanging over Dundee United just now.
However, speak to Sam Stanton and, although his frustration with the toils of the past couple of weeks is clear, just as apparent is there is no doom and gloom in the first-team dressing-room at the Tangerines.
The results against Arbroath, Ross County and Alloa so far may have been disappointing but he knows they could have been different.
And, as United head up to Elgin City today for what is now a final preparation for the big league kick-off in just over a week, his mood is good.
“We’ve had those three games now and the first one we should have seen it out for the win against Arbroath,” said the 24 year old.
“Saturday past was the same against Alloa. We were ahead late on, were in control and even had the chance to go on and score more, so we should have gone on and won it.
“In between up at Ross County was a very even game, a good game as well in the second half, and it could have gone either way.
“We had a penalty late on and, if we scored that, we would probably have gone on and won the game but, although we lost, it was a decent performance. It was disappointing to lose but we know we were in the game.”
While stressing he hates losing any game, Stanton adds the fact United have not been dominated in any of their outings so far, stretching back to three friendlies before the Betfred Cup got going, is another reason to feel they are heading in the right direction.
“We have had periods in every game where we’ve been on top and played some good football and we will look to build on that.
“We are not going out and conceding loads of goals and I don’t feel worried in that aspect of the game. We know where we need to be and a win in this one gets us there.”
With today’s tie the last before the all-important league business starts with the visit of Dunfermline, Stanton does admit a win at Elgin is important.
While boss Csaba Laszlo may still try out a few things with the Championship in mind, the players will not lose sight of that need to come out on top.
“This one is a very important game that we need to win and go into the league feeling right.
“You need to be ready for the league starting – that’s the most important thing – and first of all you need to be fit and most of us are.
“We’ve not had everyone available for the games so far and the manager has had to change things a bit. It’s been mix-and-match teams.
“However, the important thing is to get everyone ready to go for the first league game and that’s what he’s been doing. You always, though, want to win your last game before the league gets going because it gives you confidence and it’s about time we started getting into that winning habit.”
On a personal level, selection for today’s game will be the strongest indication yet that he will be involved against the Pars.
Having started every outing so far and impressed, to others it may seem a given Stanton will be on from the start for most of the season. However, he is taking nothing for granted.
“It’s usually an indication of what the team is going to be for the first league match, so this is one we all want to make the starting line-up for.
“I’ve been playing and I think I have started the season quite well.”