Dundee United striker Marc McNulty hopes to have fired his way into the starting line-up following his goal in the 4-1 defeat at Rangers on Sunday.
McNulty, on as a substitute, grabbed a late consolation for the Terrors after strikes from Ianis Hagi, Ryan Kent, Joe Aribo and Alfredo Morelos had put the hosts in a commanding position at Ibrox.
The 28-year-old now hopes he’s done enough to be in boss Micky Mellon’s thoughts from the start at Rugby Park on Saturday, as the Tangerines take on Kilmarnock looking to bolster their top-six ambitions.
McNulty has played off the left and the right as well as through the middle for the Tannadice club in recent weeks but says, whether starting or on the bench, he’s happy to play his part.
“It’s all about just being ready and trying to get back into the gaffer’s thoughts for the next game”
“For most of my career I’ve played through the middle but I’ve been asked to do a job more wide,” the on-loan Reading forward said.
“It’s different, it’s definitely different, but it’s been quite frustrating at times because I want to score every week.
“I always look at myself and I could do more to chip in with more goals from a different position but I’ve found that difficult to come by.
“To come on through the middle on Sunday and to get a goal was a positive.
“I’ll play my part, wherever I start or if I’m on the bench, that’s football.
“It’s all about just being ready and trying to get back into the gaffer’s thoughts for the next game.
“Every player wants to play every week.
“You might disagree with the gaffer when you’re not starting but, ultimately, it’s him that makes the decisions.
“On Sunday I found myself on the bench but when I was coming on he told me to try to be positive and get something. Luckily I did.”
Competition for places benefits the Tangerines
Former Hibs hitman McNulty is competing with Lawrence Shankland, Nicky Clark and Louis Appere for a jersey and heaped praise on his fellow-strikers while expressing relief at getting his second of the season.
He continued: “It’s disappointing to get a goal in a defeat but, on a personal level, it’s been a bit of a frustrating time.
“It’s good to get another goal but there’s a lot of competition in the squad.
“I thought the boys that started were brilliant and we keep each other on our toes.
“Shanks has scored a few in the last couple of weeks so he’s been on form and big Louis’ done very well when he’s come in.
“Clarky came back into the team on Sunday and I thought he did really well. That gives the gaffer a bit of a headache for the weekend.”
United still harbour top-six hopes ahead of crucial Kilmarnock encounter
Sitting a point behind St Mirren, who have a game in hand against Motherwell on Wednesday night, in seventh spot, McNulty believes a top-half finish is still on for United and pointed to the positive performance despite defeat in Glasgow.
The Terrors controlled the opening half an hour in the southside sunshine and would’ve considered themselves unlucky to go in 2-0 down at the break.
McNulty believes they have to put the game behind them now and focus on taking points from Killie this weekend.
“We’ve just got to stay positive,” he added.
“We’re still in with a chance and we came away from Sunday taking positives from it.
“It’s disappointing to get beat, you never want that even coming to places like this, but we’ve just got to move on to Kilmarnock at the weekend and keep an eye on the top six.
“We started the game really well and limited Rangers’ chances to very little.
“We had a couple of opportunities as well – the kind of chances you dream of when you come away to places like this.
“You want to create really good chances and they were but the harsh reality is, if you don’t take them at Ibrox, you’re going to get punished.
“It was frustrating because we kicked off really well and created good opportunities.
“That would’ve been the difference. If we’d taken one of them it would’ve been a completely different game.
“We let Rangers off the hook and then they go up the park and get a bit of luck with a couple of deflections.
“We were up against it then.”