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Dundee United’s Liam Smith hopes they will be toasting winning treble in the Highlands

Liam Smith.
Liam Smith.

Dundee United defender Liam Smith hopes for a winning hat-trick in the Highlands when they take on Inverness today.

The Tangerines have steadied the ship with two successive home victories over Dunfermline and Partick Thistle that secured their position as Championship leaders.

The waters had looked a bit choppy as they lost away to both Alloa and Queen of the South before that.

It has been a decent turnaround, albeit at their fortress of Tannadice, and now Smith is looking for a treble in the space of a week when they travel north.

The United right-back said: “It is always tough to go up there but we will be looking to make it a great week – three wins out of three.

“It is not going to be an easy game at all but we will be confident after beating Partick on Tuesday and Dunfermline last weekend.

“I think it was important after a couple of bad away results that we stuck together and got back to doing what we had been doing.

“Every game is tough but we are in a new quarter of the season now and looking to kick on.

“We were delighted to get even a 1-0 win against Thistle the other night because that gave us six points out of six in the space of just a few days.

“Now, hopefully, we can make it nine out of nine at Inverness.”

The Tangerines were certainly made to work hard for the win against the Jags in midweek.

It was a real slog, not least for the spectators, but United had goal machine Lawrence Shankland to thank once again for the winner.

Smith acknowledged: “It was a battle but we knew the importance of winning that battle against Partick.

“We spoke about it at half-time as well as before the game.

“Thistle are a better side than their league position would suggest.

“It wasn’t a night for pretty football but we knew that if we dug in there was every chance of getting three points.

“As we get into the winter months, there are going to be more games like that, where we need to dig it out.”

Smith may not have been celebrating a goal like Shankland was but he was just as pleased with the defence’s ability to shut out the opposition for the second match in a row.

He said: “We have managed to get two consecutive clean sheets, which is great for the defenders.

“It gives us a platform that the rest of the boys can go and build on.

“What having someone like Shanks in the team means is that if you keep a clean sheet you know that you all you might need to win the match is the one chance.

“If you can keep it tight then you have players who can score the winner.

“One goal would be all you would need.

“Therefore, we defenders know that if we do our job properly then there is every chance an opportunity will fall to Shanks or even one of the other boys.

“His record is unbelievable and speaks for itself.

“If he can continue that run while, at the same time, the rest of us pitch in with a few goals then I am sure it will stand us in good stead.”

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