Dundee United’s Paul Watson admits he would love to be sitting on cloud nine when the final whistle blows at Dens.
The Tangerines lead the Championship by three points from second-placed Ayr United going into the derby against Dundee on Friday night.
Parochial it may be but it is the gap between them and the Dark Blues which is grabbing the attention of most United fans.
Victory would put nine points of clear blue water between the city sides, whereas a win for James McPake’s team would cut it to three.
Watson is obviously hoping the former scenario is the one that pans out and he admits that would be a significant advantage to hold over the neighbours.
He said: “We are three points clear at the top of the league going into the derby.
“We are also six ahead of Dundee and have a great chance to open up a big gap on them.
“That’s not a bad position to be in.
“It’s a huge game when you look at what is at stake.
“We are also three ahead of Ayr at the moment and seven clear of Inverness.
“That shows you how big a game it could be.
“This could be massive for us.
“Nine points on Dundee would be a big gap for them to make up so we will be looking to stretch it to nine.”
The United players have answered their critics in style after away defeats to Alloa and Queen of the South were followed by wins over Dunfermline, Partick Thistle and Inverness Caley Thistle.
Watson, one of the Tangerines’ top performers in the 3-0 triumph in the Highlands on Saturday, is proud of the way United have dug in and shown that they deserve to be out in front.
He said: “We did have a really tough week after the defeat (away to Queens) but we have bounced back really well.
“We have taken nine points out of nine and had three clean sheets, which is great form going into the derby.
“Also, the performance we put in at Inverness, which is a tough place to go to, was excellent.
“We won comfortably in the end and it could have been more.
“I think what got questioned was our character when going away from home. We have won every home game so far so it was about the away form.
“Questions were asked but we have shown great character to bounce back like we did.
“We had a meeting between us all and kind of got everything out.
“We drew a line under it and vowed to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“It’s about being consistent if we can achieve that we should stay right up there.
“The preparations are well under way for the derby now and everyone at the club is dying for Friday to come around quickly”
Watson admitted that the 6-2 scoreline in United’s favour in the last all-city clash on August 30 was a bit harsh on the Dark Blues and he expects them to be desperate to turn the tables on the Tangerines.
He added: “Looking back on the last derby, it was perhaps a surprise to win by such a big margin.
“I think the game was closer than 6-2, if I am going to be honest.
“A few setpieces made all the difference for us and they had a goal chalked off when the match was still tight.
“Had that stood it could have been a different game.
“That is why we know it’s not going to be 6-2 again.
“It’s going to be a really tough one for us.
“They (Dundee) will want to put things right after losing like that and conceding six goals.
“They will come out firing and will be right up for it. We need to be fully prepared for that.
“I think a similar thing happened to us last season after we lost 5-1 to Ross County.
“They were our title rivals and we wanted to make sure we put that right when we played them next. We went to their place and we beat them so we will need to be prepared.”
Watson, if he stays at centre-back, will be part of a defence that will have to be wary of the play-making ability of Dundee midfielder Graham Dorrans.
The former Rangers and Scotland man is a growing influence on the Dark Blues and could be a key man in the derby unless United can close him down.
Watson said: “The signing of Dorrans was a right good one for Dundee.
“He is a top-class player and you can see that when you look at the list of teams he has played for.
“We will need to make sure we are on him.”