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Dundee United defender Jamie Robson hasn’t given promotion block bid second thought

Jamie Robson.
Jamie Robson.

Dundee United full-back Jamie Robson insists he hasn’t given the threat to their promotion a second thought over the summer.

As the bid by Hearts and Partick Thistle to block the Tangerines’ step-up to the Premiership has bounced from the Court of Session to an SFA arbitration panel, Robson and his teammates has been busily preparing for their opening top-flight fixture against St Johnstone at Tannadice a week tomorrow.

That the United squad find themselves so close to their curtain-raiser with their future still officially unresolved is a disgrace and an embarrassment to Scottish football as a whole.

However, the encouraging thing is that the players seem unaffected by the off-field chaos.

Robson said: “I don’t know too much about what has been going on with that.

“It hasn’t been an issue for me and I don’t think it has affected any of our players.

“We haven’t been speaking about it.

“We have one thing on our mind and that is preparing for the first game of the Premiership season.

“That is how the situation is for us and until that changes or anything gets said then that’s what we will continue to do.”

Of course, the Tannadice men have had more than the Hearts/Thistle issue to cope with this summer.

There has also been the coronavirus lockdown and the switch of manager, with Robbie Neilson leaving in dramatic fashion to go to the Jam Tarts and Micky Mellon arriving to take over.

Mellon will now be joined by assistant boss Stevie Frail with just over a week of pre-season training remaining.

However, Robson insists the transition has been smooth.

He added: “The new manager has come in under difficult circumstances.

“We had our previous gaffer leaving very quickly and I didn’t really know the circumstances around that.

“We have a new boss now and he has moved fast to make his wee points about how he wants us to play.

“We were always together as a squad so the change (of manager) has not been a problem.

“We have had a few meetings with him now and he has passed things on to us as defenders.

“He has been slowly but surely putting his message across to the players about what he wants from us this season.

“I have enjoyed working under him over these past few weeks.

“He is just so positive about everything.

“He wants to win – and he has been a big winner over his career with the promotions.

“We have all been urged to play the game the right way and do things right off the pitch as well.

“He has been really upbeat in what he has said.”

With the big kick-off against Saints just eight days away, Robson is relishing what lies ahead even though Covid-19 will make it a very different experience from what he and everyone else would have wished for.

He said: “I don’t see any reason why we can’t really compete in the Premiership and do well in the cups this season.

“Over the summer, it has been slowly sinking in that we are about to be playing games against Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen etc.

“Listen, it is a massive step-up from the Championship but I think all of our boys are ready to take that step.

“We are confident in all of our own abilities as individuals and collectively as a team.

“We will be going to big stadiums and playing against top players but it will be great for us, even if it is under these circumstances.

“I think we deserve that excitement after working so hard to get to the top flight.

“United are a massive club within Scotland and always have been.

“The unusual thing has been that we have been in the Championship for a few years.

“This is now United going up to where we feel we belong.

“The other teams, I believe, know how big the club is. When we go to their grounds I am pretty sure they will show us respect but, of course, we have to also earn that respect on the pitch.”

United haven’t been able to go on a recruitment drive because of the financial implications of the pandemic, although you imagine Mellon will make one or two signings in due course.

Regardless, Robson is happy that they have enough already to do themselves justice.

He said: “It was definitely the case last season that our team spirit helped us win the title.

“We had a strong group then and we have a strong group now.

“The squad contains basically the same players so that will help us do well again.

“We come up as champions and everyone is positive.

“We have the excitement that having a new manager brings and the confidence among the players is flying.

“What I would say to our fans is that we feel ready to face this next challenge.”

The Tangerines will host Kilmarnock behind closed doors tomorrow in their fourth pre-season friendly.

Robson featured in the 4-1 win over Rangers at Murray Park on Wednesday in what looked to be a full-strength United side.

He added: “It has been hectic with these friendly games but I think we have a brilliant squad and everybody is looking well.”

Dundee United manager Micky Mellon says his stars answered difficult questions during 4-1 friendly win over ‘talented’ Rangers XI