Louis Appere feels Dundee United answered some “big questions” when they won without Lawrence Shankland.
The Tangerines shot down the always unconvincing suggestion that they are a one-man team by thumping Queen of the South 3-0 at Tannadice a fortnight ago while their star man was on international duty.
They head to Cappielow to face Greenock Morton Shankland-less once again because of an injury the striker picked up while with Scotland.
Thus, a tear on top of a thigh muscle means he will miss a second successive United match, having been in Cyprus with the Scots while his teammates were demolishing the Doonhamers.
Of course, Appere and his pals managed just fine without Shankland and the 20-year-old is confident it will be the same story when they head west to play Ton this afternoon.
That victory over the Palmertson side moved United nine points clear of second-placed Ayr at the top of the Championship and there was a considerable sense of satisfaction at the club that the job was done without their prize asset.
Appere said: “Lawrence is a great player on his own but we have a great team around him.
“You only have to look at the defence to see that. To have kept five clean sheets in a row is some achievement.
“There were big questions about how we would cope.
“It is different when he is not there and he has been a big asset to the team this season.
“Hopefully, he is not out for too long and we want him back as quickly as possible
“It is better to have Shanks in the side than not because of how many goals he has scored but I think we knew ourselves how good a team we are and that we could cope.
“It was important that we showed we can play well and win without him.
“We still managed to do well against Queen of the South and that was a really good win.
“It was a fun game to play in – really enjoyable – and we were dominant.”
Appere was asked, slightly tongue in cheek, if the players could now afford to relax a bit because their lead at the top of the table is so big.
He replied: “It’s a great feeling just now and we have been on such a great run over the last few games.
“That’s five wins in a row and five successive clean sheets.
“What we must do now, though, is keep it going.
“There is no danger of us easing off a bit and the manager wouldn’t allow that.
“However, it is hard to be constantly winning games week after week.
“We went on a run at the start of the season then had a little dip so we are looking to keep this run going as long as possible.”
With the help of Shankland, among others, Appere has continued to cement his position in the Tangerines’ first team.
He has also been adaptable, moving into Shankland’s central role against Queens after playing wide left before that.
He said: “I don’t mind where I go.
“I can play out wide or up top.
“I feel I really have kicked on this season.
“I was out on loan then had a good pre-season and now I have kind of established myself in the first team starting line-up. I want that to continue.
“I think I have improved.
“It has also been a case of being a bit smarter and adapting to first-team football.
“You have to learn the little things like winning the ball in the air, when to give the opposing player a bump and flick-ons.
“You learn all that through getting game time and experience.
“I suppose it is about imposing myself on matches.
“There are things I can bring to the team, such as my youth, pace and strength.”