After their spectacular derby success at the end of last week, Ian Harkes admits the Dundee United players were just as excited by the performance as their delighted supporters.
The young American midfielder, though, insists no one in the Tangerines squad will be getting carried away over the 6-2 hammering of neighbours Dundee, or any of the three wins that preceded it in what has been a perfect start to the league campaign for Robbie Neilson’s team.
He knows the quality shown in games like the derby has a lot to do with the hard graft that’s being done on a daily basis over at United’s St Andrews training base and accepts full well it has to continue.
“It’s great to see glimpses like that where we put in the work in training and it all pays off in the way it did in the derby,” said Harkes.
“We know we have to keep that work going every week so that we see these results and performances more often.
“We are very happy with how we played against Dundee, and I think we have a right to be, but we have to keep our heads the whole way and not lose focus.
“It’s a long season and there are a lot of games still ahead in it.
“We can’t get ahead of ourselves and we just have to take each game as it comes and prepare like we have been so far.”
That United have come out of the blocks so quickly and raced to the top of the second tier with a perfect record so far is, Harkes believes, not by chance.
He sees it as a result of preparation and planning that dates back to the fixtures being announced back in mid-June.
With all four of the August outings in the Championship being against teams with the potential to be up there among those challenging for promotion, there was an awareness the team would have to be right at it from the very off.
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“I think we all saw it was going to be a tough first month and we knew we would have to be at it in every single game.
“We worked hard to prepare and it’s paid off over the first four league games but I go back to what I said, there is a long way to go and we must keep working hard.”
Although he’s an American, it’s been well publicised since his arrival in January that Harkes’ family roots lie in Dundee, just up the road from Tannadice.
He admits that made his introduction to the derby a special occasion.
To cap that with a fine goal early in the second half was the icing on the cake.
“It was my first derby and I really could not have asked for any more with a result like that and a goal for me as well,” he added.
“It was such a special thing for me to come on and get that goal in this game.
“I thought it was a great game and the boys played so well. The whole game just felt like a bit of a blur almost because the boys came out with so much energy.
“We got on top and, once we did, we were in control for the rest of the game.
“The manager told us at half-time to do the same again and I think that’s what we did.”
Next up for the Tangerines are Arbroath in the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup at Tannadice on Saturday.
Even if that’s a competition that could never be described as a major priority, it’s one Harkes and his team-mates are taking seriously.
He added: “The fact it’s a different competition does not change our approach one bit.
“We will prepare for this game like we have for every game so far and treat it the same way.
“We want to win it.”