Dundee United midfielder Calum Butcher has been at Tannadice for long enough to know what it’s all about.
The United stalwart, who has made over 100 appearances in two spells with the club, understands the weight of expectation he carries every time he pulls on a tangerine jersey.
Dealing with the demands of the Arabs – as they prepare to return to football en masse – is not something that fazes him, you feel.
And the 30-year-old is urging his team-mates to rise to the challenge as they head into the new Premiership season at Aberdeen on Sunday.
‘It maybe seems harsh but it’s not’
“The fans give you an edge,” he told the Courier.
“Yeah, they can get on our backs at times, but they’re Dundee United fans and expect more.
“It maybe seems harsh but it’s not. We need to rise to that and show we’re giving our all.
“I think we’ve been doing that the last few years so, hopefully, we can have a strong start and give them something to shout about.
“It’s something I definitely feed off and have missed all last season.
“You have to get yourself up for games, which is tough sometimes.
“Having the atmosphere helps.
“Just even going into Tannadice at the weekend and having more people around the place is useful.
“It’s something we’ll feed off and it looks like things are changing early August so it’ll be two or three games without it then we’ll hit the ground running with fans back in.”
‘Erratic’ environment gone under Courts
Butcher has been pleased with the start they’ve made under new head coach Tam Courts – winning all their on the way to progression from Premier Sports Cup Group B.
The experienced midfield man has been impressed with new boss Courts saying he’s brought structure to what an “erratic” environment under Micky Mellon last term.
“It’s been brilliant,” Butch added.
“The atmosphere in the changing-room’s been really good and around the place little things are changing that make a big difference.
“I’ve been delighted with the start and how training’s gone so far.
“There’s a bit more predictability and structure in how we want to play.
“Sometimes last season it was a bit erratic and now it’s about trying to get that bit more control in games.
“We want to be clearer in what we’re trying to do and create more chances by getting higher up the pitch with more control.
“That’s something you have to build on.
“We’ve been doing that in sessions and all our training’s been based around that.
“In spells, we’ve pulled it off in games but we need to do it for 90 minutes moving forward.”
‘Top six is definitely the target’
Ahead of their trip to Pittodrie this weekend, vice-captain Butcher set out some targets for the season.
While a top-six finish is “definitely” the aim, Butch was keen to temper that with the reality of a competitive league that now includes newly-promoted Hearts and city rivals Dundee.
A cup final is also on the Englishman’s wish list as he hailed the team chemistry with the Terrors’ camp.
He commented: “We’re confident but it’s another challenge for us.
“I’m really excited to go into the season with the way the club’s moving forward.
“Top six is definitely the target.
“We want to improve and top what we did last season – that’s top half and getting to a final.
“It’s a big challenge but one we’re up for.
“This season is probably the strongest the league’s been for a lot of years.
“It’s something we’re definitely up for, these are the games you want to play in and we’re looking forward to that.
“Going up to Aberdeen, there’ll be some fans in so it’ll be a good atmosphere.
“I’m just really excited. Everything about it just seems to be going in the right direction.
“There’s a lot of togetherness within the group, young lads coming through and it’s a really exciting time for us.
“There’s a few new ideas with the way the gaffer wants to play, the system is suiting us at the moment but we just need to come out on top and really punish teams.”