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Dundee United’s Nicky Clark feels Hamilton frustration is sure sign they are coping well in Premiership

Nicky Clark misses a chance for United.
Nicky Clark misses a chance for United.

Nicky Clark believes feeling so fed up at only drawing against Hamilton shows Dundee United are coping well in the Premiership.

Indeed, Clark thinks a top-six finish is a realistic target for the season.

The Tangerines would have come out on top against Accies on Saturday had they taken the chances that came their way – including a couple of crackers for Clark himself.

As it turned out, they had to make do with a 1-1 draw.

Being unhappy at dropping two points away to Brian Rice’s team on their plastic pitch is a positive sign, according to Clark.

He said: “If I could only score, it would have made it much better!

“Look, it is a point on the road and this is a tough place to come to.

“You also need to take the surface into consideration.

“So, yes, it is a good point but it probably should have been more.

“I think that shows we are adjusting fine.

“Right now, with this result against Hamilton, we all feel disappointed and frustrated.

“That is because we have set ourselves high standards for this league,” he added.

“We wanted to come here and collect all three points but we have still had a good start to the campaign, obviously with a couple of slips along the way.

“We are new to this league and a lot of our players hadn’t played in it before so I think we have handled it well up to this point.

“We do need to keep going and working hard because it is only going to get tougher – we know that.”

Lawrence Shankland celebrates his goal. SNS.

As for the likelihood of being in the upper half of the table when the division splits, Clark was upbeat.

He said: “It is realistic – 100%.

“This is a massive football club, when you look at the history, and the top six is where we want to be.

“We want to finish as high as we can.

“If we had beaten Hamilton I think we would have gone fourth in the league and we mentioned that before the game and that is the standard we are setting at this football club.

“I don’t see why we can’t finish in the top six – absolutely.”

United welcome Livingston to Tannadice this Friday night and Clark is looking for an opportunity to make amends for his two big misses against Hamilton.

The first was when the Tangerines were 1-0 up and he had a shot that was superbly saved by keeper Ryan Fulton, while the second was in the closing minutes when he sent the ball over the bar from close range. On both occasions, he was played in by teammate Lawrence Shankland, the scorer of United’s early goal.

Clark said: “On another day we maybe could have got three or four.

“From my point of view, I needed to score with the two chances I had.

“On another day, it could have been a hat-trick and you get all the headlines and stuff.

“I just need to learn from this and hopefully get a couple on Friday night.”

He is hoping they can kick on again underneath the floodlights.

“Livingston is the next match – a home game as well – so we need to go and pick up the three points,” added Clark.

“Maybe then we can look back over our last three games (St Mirren, Accies and Livi) and say we took seven points out of nine.

“We would have taken that beforehand, if offered.”

Meanwhile, United manager Micky Mellon has made an impassioned plea for Logan Chalmers to receive international recognition.

The Scotland under-21 team play the Czech Republic at Tynecastle on October 9 before travelling to San Marino on the 13th in a Uefa Euro Championship qualifier double-header.

Manager Scot Gemmill is preparing to name his squad and Mellon thinks the 20-year-old Tangerines’ player deserves a call-up.

Chalmers had a crucial role in United’s goal on Saturday, racing up the wing before finding Adrian Sporle, who then played in scorer Lawrence Shankland.

He was also man-of-the-match against St Mirren a week earlier so is bang in form.

Mellon asked the question: “What about Logan Chalmers?

“You all watched that – I don’t pick the (Scotland) teams – but in every interview I’ve done recently we’ve all spoken about how talented he is.

“He is a young Scottish player in our Premiership, operating at the top end of our game, and he can’t get in the Scotland under-21 team.

“You have all watched a lot of the football he has played and he has been consistent for some time.

Micky Mellon with the match officials at full-time. SNS.

“I just want to get the young Scottish boys in the team and see talent, dribbling with the ball and having shots at goal.

“He is right up there, doing it in our top league but never gets in.”

Shankland, by contrast, looks certain to be named in boss Steve Clarke’s senior Scotland squad to face Israel in the Euro play-off semi-final when it is announced tomorrow.

He was initially picked by Clarke last time around even while injured before having to withdraw because of injury.

The striker now looks to be back to his best after goals in successive matches for his club so can expect a call-up.