Dundee United boss Micky Mellon has praised the players for the way they have went about their business upon making the step up to the Premiership.
United were promoted to the top flight last year, courtesy of winning the Championship, competing in the division for the first time in four years.
Going into tomorrow’s clash with champions Celtic at Tannadice, Mellon, who joined the club as manager last summer following the departure of Robbie Neilson to Hearts, has been impressed by the environment and culture at the club.
Sitting in seventh spot, he is happy with the Tangerines’ progress but is also keen to see how they rise to the challenge of the Hoops as they make a last-ditch bid for the top six.
‘Chirpy’ camp has been beneficial for promoted United
“It is an environment we all enjoy being in,” the Terrors gaffer said.
“It is always one of improvement. Hard work gets done but it is very vibrant.
“It is never flat and is always consistently good. We work very hard to ensure it is like that.
“It is quite a happy, chirpy place and we do enjoy being here.
“That has been beneficial all season. We had just come into the division and we knew we were going to learn a lot about ourselves.
“So we knew we had to come in and work hard on the Monday no matter what happened on the Saturday.
“We are a club that wants to keep improving no matter how well we have done in the game before.
“So now we are looking forward to another great test at Tannadice.
“We will go and attack. We have worked hard all week, the weather has been great and we have been back on the grass.
“We have worked really hard on the things we know we will have to be good at in order to get a result in a really important game against Celtic.”
Mellon confident Terrors have taken lessons from Celtic’s last visit to Tannadice
Four points behind St Mirren in sixth with two games to go until the split, it’s now or never for United’s ambitions of making the top half.
Of all the games they’d have chosen to have in the run-in, facing a resurgent Celts side wouldn’t have been high on their list.
However, Mellon believes they have what it takes to give them a game after they fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat the last times the teams met in Dundee back in August.
“We learned a lot from that game and we came away from it being honest, saying that we probably defended the way we would like to eventually defend in every game,” Mellon added.
“That would be the standard of mentality and attitude we would like in every game.
“But where we thought we could have done better was as an attacking threat.
“How we could come out of that good defending with the ball and go up the pitch to sustain attacks against teams like Celtic.
“We accepted that and knew that was an area we wanted to try to get better in. We believe we are getting that now, the balance between the two.
“We believe we are becoming a team that is better at both and we can take that into any game with confidence thinking we can be a force at both ends of the pitch.
“So we will be looking to see where we are up to with that against Celtic.”
‘The Dundee United that we want to see we’re still working very hard towards’
Although they are far from the finished article, Mellon believes he is getting closer to the United team he wants to see every day.
He continued: “I think it’s important we continually keep trying to set our standards higher all the time.
“Don’t set limitations on yourself, keep trying to improve and see where we can take ourselves.
“That’ll be all the time, certainly when I’m here as the manager.
“We want to try to win every game, play well all the time and keep going, keep going.
“We don’t need pats on the back but we’ll try to do better all the time.
“The Dundee United that we want to see we’re still working very hard towards but we have the ambition and the attitude to try to achieve that.”
Argentine wide man Adrian Sporle, who scored and came off injured in last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Kilmarnock, is in contention to make the Celtic clash after battling back from a heel problem.