Striker Simon Murray insists Dundee United must hit the ground running when the Championship promotion race starts.
The dust having settled on their relegation from the Premiershipand the make-up of their new division now known, the Tangerines will be up against clubs of the stature of Hibs, Falkirk, Dunfermline and Raith Rovers – among others – when the league action gets under way again.
The new Scottish Cup winners are the stand-out opposition in that list and the expectation may be that it will be a green v tangerine battle at the top of the table.
However, Murray is wary of all the sides they will face and is stressing the need to be switched on from the word go.
“Hibs are a massive club and they will be looking to the same as what we are hoping to do, which is win the league,” said the Tannadice frontman.
“It will certainly make the promotion race interesting.
“I feel United is as big a club as Hibs.
“It’s maybe too early to say who will be favourites to go up.
“For example, we still don’t know what players will be signing or moving on.
“No disrespect to the smaller teams in the division but if you are playing Hibs the atmosphere is going to be better and the crowd bigger.
“Hibs have been in the Championship for a couple of years now and are now going into a third season .
“It hasn’t been easy for them – they have struggled.”
“When you consider what’s happened to Hibs you realise that we are going to have to be at 100% right from the start.
“Even against the so-called smaller clubs it won’t be easy to get results so we will have to work hard.
“Clubs will raise their game against us so it is absolutely vital that we make sure we start the season the right way.
“We have to be wary and our attitude must be spot-on for each game.
“Our players will have to match, or even better, the opposition’s workrate.
“I sense, though, that there is a real feeling among us here at United that we will get right back up.”
Murray is confident that when United do report back for pre-season they will have put their troubles behind them and be ready to start afresh.
He added: “We have a new manager in Ray McKinnon, who will be determined to get us into the Premiership first time around.
“Every one of the players will have a bit of a break, clear their headd, get refreshed and come back and work hard when pre-season training starts.
“We can’t afford to look back at last season and we can’t just think promotion will just happen for us. We must earn it.
“It will be different at the club because it is not very often you see a turnaround in players like there has been here.
“We will have new boys coming in keen to do their best for their new team and we also have the young players who finished the season well looking to be involved.
“It will be a fresh start for us all.”
As for McKinnon, Murray has only heard good things about him.
He said: “I have spoken to lads at Raith, such as Aidan Connolly and Lewis Toshney.
“Tosh says the training is brilliant and that there is a great atmosphere about that club.
“They were both full of praise for the manager so I am looking forward to working with him here.”
Murray was speaking at Tannadice to help publicise a charity cyclathon that will take place tomorrow in support of Cry (Cardiac Risk in the Young).