Dundee United boss Robbie Neilson says his players handled “big pressure” a fortnight ago – now it’s time to pile it on the chasing Championship pack.
The Tangerines have sped clear of the rest of the promotion hopefuls in the second tier after an impressive run of four wins on the bounce within two weeks.
That came after two surprise defeats – the second against today’s opponents Queen of the South.
Robbie was delighted to see his side respond to the “big pressure” on his players after those losses.
And they can add to their six-point lead at the top of the division today with none of the other top four sides in action.
Robbie said: “It is a chance for us with only one other match on in the league.
“We have an opportunity, if we win the game, to get further away from the teams below us.
“The bigger the gap the better, as far as I’m concerned.
“We also realise, though, that it can change very quickly.
“When we were coming off two straight defeats there was big pressure on our players.
“That could have swung our whole season against us.
“But we managed to get three wins out of three going into the derby then made it four.”
Everyone associated with Dundee United has revelled in the glow of a derby win at the home of rivals Dundee last Friday.
However, Robbie is keen his players don’t get too carried away with plenty of work to be done.
“You don’t want it to be a case of ‘After the Lord Mayor’s Show’.
“The most important thing for us is to keep picking up three points, whether that’s in a derby at Dens or at home to Queen of the South.
“It’s the same number of points for every victory and they all count at the end of the season.
“Therefore, you can’t record a great result and then, off the back of that, think the job is done.”
He added: “The boys enjoyed their weekend but as soon as they came in on Monday it was back to work. The focus was immediately on the Queen of the South game and what happened at Palmerston.
“We have to put on a far better performance if we want to get three points today.”
The Tangerines fell to a 4-0 defeat the last time they met the Doonhamers.
“We were annoyed with ourselves for losing like that and the players were disappointed,” added Robbie.
“I think it was about staying calm.
“We managed that and we’ve moved on from there.”