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LEE WILKIE: Suddenly Dundee United look a different team and a massive week is coming up for Dundee

Lawrence Shankland scores against Livingston.
Lawrence Shankland scores against Livingston.

Suddenly Dundee United look a completely different team as they jumped back into the top six over the weekend.

A very good 3-0 win over Livingston to add to the 2-0 success up at Ross County and the Tangerines find themselves in a good place once more.

In fact, I’d say they are now only one or two results away from securing Premiership football once more next term.

The Livi victory was a continuation of all the good stuff they did up in Dingwall.

More energy, pressing the opposition higher and punishing mistakes.

The whole team seems to have been moved up the park and it is allowing them to get the ball back sooner and hurt the opposition.

That was evident in the opening goal at the weekend – a poor kick from the goalkeeper and Jamie Robson was nice and high to take advantage.

The new setup seems to also be getting the best out of Lawrence Shankland.

He’s looking more like himself again, a quality striker.

All season, United have been missing the link between him and the rest of the team.

Suddenly it looks like they’ve found the solution.

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Lawrence Shankland scores against Livingston.

There hasn’t been that connection between the striker and the midfield – now United are winning the ball back and finding Shankland in dangerous positions.

The second goal was a classy finish but the first was classic Shankland.

It was one of those where the chance comes and you expect him to score – in fact, if he missed it would be a bigger surprise.

And it wasn’t a chance that’s impossible to miss, far from it.

He’s just got that quality that you know will make sure the goalkeeper has no chance.

It’s a really good sign for the Tangerines that they are now creating chances for him because we know he’ll find the goals they need.

Credit has to go to manager Micky Mellon as well for finding the route out of United’s problems in these two big games.

He’s tried a few different things but has been quick to realise when something isn’t working.

An example of that was trying Nicky Clark in a deeper position.

I’ve been there as a coach when you see a player doing really well in training, a great attitude and you think ‘he could do a job in midfield’.

However, suddenly you try it and it just doesn’t work.

Unfortunately for Clark, that’s seen him drop out of the team just now.

However, that’s the decisions managers have to make.

And Mellon will have another big call this weekend.

Away to Rangers on Sunday before a big game against Kilmarnock the following week.

Do you make changes and focus on the Killie game, avoiding injury to key men?

If you do, you are saying you don’t think your team is good enough to beat Rangers.

It is a dilemma he faces and I’m interested to see what he goes for this weekend.


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Dundee new boy Jason Cummings.

Dundee players will be itching to get back out on the pitch after yet another call off over the weekend.

I know I’m eager to see how they shape up with Jason Cummings and Paul McMullan.

It’s all well and good having good time to train and get the players well drilled but there’s no substitution for a normal week leading up to a game.

The players will be crying out to get back on the pitch.

And, by the looks of Saturday’s opponents Queen of the South right now, it won’t be easy on Saturday.

Hopefully, the weather eases up and we see the two sides battle it out.

Allan Johnston has his Queens side really well organised right now and they were unlucky not to beat Hearts on Friday night.

Then the Dark Blues have Ayr on Tuesday and Morton the following weekend.

A huge week.

These are teams only a few points behind them in what is a very tight league table.

Always the case in the Championship, though.

I’d say Dundee need to be looking for at least two wins out of those three to get their fight for second place up and running.

It’s key they get themselves in as good a place as they can for the play-offs.

Picking up a few wins now and shooting up that table will shake off any winter blues around the place.

Massive three games.


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Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson (left) stands dejected alongside Ozan Kabak as Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy celebrates.

I really thought Liverpool were over their troubles this season but they’re now looking over their shoulders to make sure they don’t get dragged down further.

Man City are well clear of them now and it’s been a real surprise from the Reds this year.

However, their struggles show just how important the centre-back position is to teams.

I heard they’d used 14 different combinations at the back this season which is remarkable.

And they just can’t find the solution without Virgil van Dijk.

Again Man U had trouble in that area on Sunday – it’s a key position.

This article originally appeared on the Evening Telegraph website. For more information, read about our new combined website.