Midfielder Sam Stanton says previous Dundee United sides would have buckled under the pressure at Arbroath – but not this one.
There’s a different feel around Tannadice this season and no wonder after eight straight wins has seen the club go 13 points clear at the top of the Championship.
Stanton insists the Tangerines aren’t taking any notice of the way the division is shaping up but does feel there is a new-found determination about the place.
The 25-year-old scored the only goal of the game in the opening stages at Gayfield at the weekend (see video further down).
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After that, the Red Lichties put United under pressure but the defensive strength the Tangerines have shown this campaign came to the fore as they shut the Angus side out.
Stanton told the Tele: “When I came to the club a couple of years ago, I don’t think we would have won a game like that.
“That shows the character we have in the side at the moment, that we can play different styles and get good wins.
“It shows how far we’ve come. We’ve come leaps and bounds since my first season here.
“We have constantly improved and I think you can see that in some of the performances.
“The whole club in general is in a better place than when I arrived.
“We have a great squad with a great group of players and real morale around the team but we’ve also got a great relationship with the supporters and it all helps.
“The support was amazing on Saturday in the freezing cold and driving wind.
“To come out in those numbers made it almost like a home game for us – they were excellent.
“That kind of support drives the team on and we’re thankful for the support they have given us.
“They’ve been to every single game in their numbers and that’s been excellent.
“You need that as a club and we are starting to have a real bond with the fans.”
He added: “We have had some tough games lately and then we went to Arbroath and managed to show a different side to our game.
“Saturday was really difficult. Arbroath are a really good side with a lot of good, experienced players.
“Especially at home they are very good and have picked up a lot of points. The wind was difficult for both teams and made things hard.
“It wasn’t the prettiest game of football but we got over the line.”
Stanton was delighted to grab just his second goal of the season as he converted from the edge of the area.
His effort from 20 yards clipped a defender on the way in but the midfielder was glad to make the decisive difference in such a difficult game.
“It was nice to get on the scoresheet – there was a wee deflection but you’ll take that!
“Some of the other boys have been getting the headlines so it’s a nice wee change! I’m just happy to win regardless but it’s always nice to get on the scoresheet.”
Eight wins in a row and a hefty cushion of 13 points ahead of second-placed Inverness at the summit of the Championship table has many declaring it’s United’s title to lose.
For the players, though, there’s a focus on the job at hand says Stanton.
“The league table doesn’t really mean anything at the moment.
“We’re barely even halfway through the season so there are still a lot of games to go.
“We just need to keep doing what we’ve been doing.
“It’s really cliched but you do genuinely focus on each game at a time and try to keep winning.
“It’s nice to be 13 points clear but we want to win every game we play.”