Victory for Dundee United in their Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup tie against Arbroath tomorrow will send out another strong message to their rivals that they’re the team to beat in the Championship.
That’s the belief of attacker Cammy Smith as he hopes for his first competitive start of the campaign.
Smith is likely to get his wish as boss Robbie Neilson gives game time to some of his fringe players.
If that’s the case, on a personal level he’ll see it as another chance to stake a claim for starts in the Championship, but also to help the Tangerines show they have both quality and attitude to worry the rest.
“If we can win this tie it sends out a message that we are taking every game seriously,” he said.
“We have a strong squad, even if there are changes for this game we will want to win.
“We know it will be a difficult tie because Arbroath are a strong team and they have started the season very well.”
And even if the Challenge Cup is not a top priority this term, the former Aberdeen and St Mirren man believes throughout the entire squad the desire to stretch the current winning run to five games is strong.
“We are all hungry. The other night in the derby against Dundee we didn’t rest on what we had when we were well up and that’s what you want as a team.
“You don’t want to let anything get in the way of things when you are in this kind of form.
“I know the league is the priority but we want to win every game we go into and we want to keep playing well in the cup.”
He also knows playing his part in another victory will help his chances of claiming the regular starting slot he so wants. However, he appreciates for any of the fringe players at United right now, forcing a way into the team is not easy.
“The boys have started the season really well and I think, since that East Fife game when we got beat in the Betfred Cup, we’ve really upped things.
“Before that we were bang at it but we’ve even upped it a level since then. We’ve been at it day-in and day-out and that’s the way you need to be, foot on the pedal all the time.
“The boys who are playing are doing well and the boys who aren’t playing are doing everything they can to get in the team and it’s a good place to be at the moment.
“The competition for places is hard. You just have to keep going to try to force a way in and that’s what we are all doing.
“Whatever minutes you get on the pitch all you can do is try to show up well, whether it’s a goal, an assist, linking or generally playing well. I think I’ve done that.
“The first game of the season I could have had a goal when I came on but it got blocked on the line.
“Then against Dundee I came on got one goal and could have had another one but that shot was blocked as well. When I saw my shot cleared off the line, I thought not again but I got another chance and luckily that one hit the net.
“It’s a wee lift but my spirits have stayed high because I know it’s a long season and I know I am good enough to play in this team.
“I know the opportunities will come and, when I have come on in games, like the other boys who have, I’ve made an impact.”
That will be the aim again on Saturday, though he is happy to repeat his assertion the clash with the Lichties will be anything but easy.
Smith added: “We are at home and that is nice but they will come and give us a good game.
“And I think Arbroath will be fine in the league this season. They have experienced players and they’ll make it hard.”