Louis Appere has praised Dundee United coach Lee McCulloch for helping to make him feel at home in the first team.
Appere has made 19 appearances for the Tangerines already this season and has established himself as a key member of manager Robbie Nielson’s senior squad.
It was to the 20-year-old frontman that the United boss looked to fill the vacancy in attack when star man Lawrence Shankland was away with the Scotland team in Cyprus for their Euro 2020 qualifier last month.
He didn’t score that day against Queen of the South at Tannadice but still had another fine game for United, including the cut-back for Paul McMullan that helped break the deadlock in a comfortable 3-0 victory.
With Shankland nursing a thigh injury, Appere would have been leading the line for the Tangerines again at Cappielow last Saturday had the match against Morton not been called off because of a frozen pitch.
Almost everything Appere has achieved this season – including a crucial goal in the Dundee derby at Tannadice back in August – has been down to his own hard work and ability.
However, there has also been room for a decent contribution from coach McCulloch.
Appere said: “He has been brilliant with me.
“Previously, I had been in the reserves so this is the first chance I have had to really work with Lee.
“I think he really took to me and showed a lot of belief in me.
“It makes you believe in yourself when you have a coach, who has been such a successful player, show faith in you like that.
“He likes extra drills after training with the strikers and we have worked on a lot of things that have improved my game.”
The admiration is mutual, with former Rangers, Motherwell and Scotland man McCulloch having once claimed that Appere was a better player at his age that he himself was at the same stage of his career.
However, Appere said: “I don’t know about that. That is nice to hear but I am not sure about that.
“If I can keep playing away and emulate the career Lee had then I will be very happy.”
Meanwhile, the postponed Morton match has still to be rescheduled.
When it does they should have Shankland available, with Neilson stating he expected his player to be ready to face Alloa at home this Saturday.