Dundee United and scoring goals doesn’t exactly go hand-in-hand at the moment.
However, thankfully for the Terrors, this afternoon’s opponents Hamilton Accies and conceding does.
Brian Rice’s side have let in a whopping 33 goals in 12 games so far, an average of nearly three goals a game, admittedly not helped by shipping eight and five against Rangers and St Johnstone, respectively.
That should have United’s strikers purring today and the Tangerines’ supporters expectant.
They have every right to be.
After all, United boast Scotland strikers Lawrence Shankland and Marc McNulty up top as well as an in-form Nicky Clark.
At Tannadice, it should be a goal-fest for Micky Mellon’s troops and, undoubtedly, their play in the final third is something they will have been working on extensively over this little break.
As bad as Hamilton’s defence has been, the Tangerines attack has been every bit as poor in recent times.
Although they are keeping it tight at the back, for one reason or another, they just can’t seem to click at the top end of the pitch.
I can’t see Mellon completely ditching such an effective defensive set-up, it would go against all his principles and potentially undo the good work done.
However, for United not to open up and take the game to Accies today would be foolish.
There is a feeling of vulnerability surrounding the Premiership’s bottom side that points and goals are there for the taking.
Points which could leave United in a very strong position come the end of the day.
They can be pleased with fifth spot, so far, in their mini-league in the middle of the table.
But three points could cement that much sought after top-six spot for a while.
With rivals Kilmarnock and Ross County, and St Johnstone and Motherwell, facing off it gives the Terrors a good chance to increase the gap between them and a couple if not all the teams below them.
Beyond any ramifications for the standings, knocking a few past Hamilton today is exactly the kind of confidence boost United need.
Their profligacy and lack of a creative spark has been a monkey on their backs for too long now and a bone of contention for a side where there hasn’t been too much to criticise this season.
Most importantly of all, those loyal Arabs, paying customers having to make do with online streams in these difficult times of Covid-19, deserve something to shout about.
We saw what a Scotland win can do for the mood of the nation last week. It’s now up to United to channel some of that spirit and pick up the morale a little in what has been a rather flat time for those of a tangerine persuasion.
For Dundee United, the good times are indeed back after four years in the wilderness. Now go enjoy it!
It may be early in the season but Dundee manager James McPake will be feeling the heat after the start they’ve made – make no mistake.
After just four games they are in danger of falling too far off the pace in the Championship title race after events between Dunfermline and Hearts at East End Park last night.
That makes today’s visit to Ayr United must-win for second season boss McPake and his Dark Blues.
And that is no exaggeration.
It has to be three points for the Dee if they are to maintain the ambitions set out at the start of the season. Simple.
The Pars and the Jambos are pulling away while Dundee fall down rather than climb the ladder.
The Dens Park hierarchy have demonstrated they will give McPake time and have patience with the young manager.
He does still deserve that, of course. However, their current fluctuating form can only go on for so long before something has to give.
The importance of promotion to Dundee, not just on the pitch but financially as well, cannot be understated.
No project nor person should get in the way of that.
Personally, I would still have faith in McPake to turn it around.
It’s been a tough time for he and his players between Covid and injuries but they need to start acting fast before the final grain of sand slips through the hourglass.
We can rightly celebrate making our first major finals in 23 years but let’s not get complacent.
We’ve waited an agonisingly-long time to see Scotland at a major tournament but we can’t afford to put the blinkers on going into Euro 2020 next summer.
Following Nations League defeats to Slovakia and Israel, after the ecstatic high of Serbia, I worry we’re losing sight of the big picture.
The Nations League is what got us we are and now that avenue is closed if the tougher World Cup qualifying is unsuccessful.
Let’s not starve another generation, please.