Dundee United’s insistence that star striker Lawrence Shankland will be going nowhere in the January transfer window will bring a huge sense of relief to their supporters.
The calculation has to be that any fee received would be outweighed by the team making it back to the Premiership, and the potentially much richer financial rewards available to the club there.
United’s resolve would undoubtedly be tested by an absolutely enormous bid for the man who has netted 19 goals for them so far, but it would have to be a gargantuan sum to risk the potential backlash from fans.
Former chairman Stephen Thompson’s uneasy relationship with supporters was completely destroyed after telling journalists, me included, that Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong were not for sale, only for the pair to pitch up at Celtic Park just a few hours after those worthless assurances.
The current regime at Tannadice has invested heavily and won a great deal of supporter goodwill in the process.
Short of receiving an outrageous bid, or a trigger clause in Shankland’s contract which would oblige them to sell, everything points to them taking the long view and keeping the goal machine who can ensure a return to the top flight.
And that return could be comfortably ensconced in Santa’s hamper by Christmas the way United are going.
After last week’s defeat of rivals Dundee, the Tannadice side have now beaten their main opponents for the Championship title twice and have an unstoppable look about them.
The psychological boost which accompanies being top dog is only endangered when teams start to take things for granted and stop grafting hard.
If that was a fault in a few of United’s on-the-road defeats, manager Robbie Neilson has expunged it and instilled a renewed vigour and determination in his side.
I saw them bully a tough Inverness team to achieve a fine 3-0 win there two weeks ago, and then go on to win the physical battle at Dens as well.
Any lingering sense of a lack of hunger and desire has been well and truly rectified.
The derby match exemplified United’s mentality perfectly.
Many Dundee fans felt Calum Butcher should have seen red instead of a yellow card for his second minute tackle but it laid down a marker as to the intensity that he and his team-mates were set to bring to the clash to win the contest.
There’s a certain swagger from teams who have the look of champions about them.
It’s not necessarily in the fluidity of their play or the sweetness of their passing, but in the mental toughness and grit that they show when they need to pull out a big performance and win a game
United are showing that toughness now, and with other teams lacking the depth and quality of squad that they possess, then unless James McPake and Dundee can rally to put together a seriously impressive run, only diehard Dark Blues will resist the reality that United are set to continue their dominant form and put the Christmas wrapping paper on the title in anticipation of an early celebration.