Peter Pawlett is adamant Dundee United can do ‘something special’ after extending their Premiership unbeaten streak to six matches.
Saturday’s gutsy 2-1 victory over Motherwell also saw the Tangerines rack up a third successive top-flight triumph for the first time since March 2014.
Now level with second-placed Hearts and just three points adrift of leaders Rangers, those initially sceptical of manager Thomas Courts are swiftly being converted.
Indeed, the notion of European qualification for the first time since 2012 seems far from outlandish on current form.
Asked whether there is any reason United should not target a return to continental competition in Courts’ maiden campaign, Pawlett told Courier Sport: “Absolutely not.
“We know teams will maybe give us a bit more respect now. We’ll have different challenges to overcome — but we believe we can do something special this year.
“We believe in each other, the manager believes in us and we believe in him.
“There is real determination to achieve the best we possibly can from this campaign. The start to the season has left us in a really good position.
“It is only October but we are in a good place and it’s brilliant to look at the table and see ourselves sitting joint-second.”
While United are thriving, the same can be said for Pawlett.
Aside from his dismissal against St Johnstone in August — a game in which he also scored the only goal — the diminutive winger has been reinvigorated under Courts.
The former Aberdeen man is finding pockets of space, creating chances and has linked up superbly with Kieran Freeman.
“The manager knows what I am good at and has put me in positions where I can affect the game,” said Pawlett.
“I’ve got some really good relationships in the team. Jeando [Fuchs] behind me is an absolute workhorse and, if I’m out of position, he is there for me — and vice-versa.
Three league wins on the bounce for Tam Courts' Terrors 🤩👏
— SPFL (@spfl) October 25, 2021
“Kieran Freeman has done brilliantly since coming in for Liam Smith. The same with Clarky [Nicky Clark].
“We have connections all over the pitch, which is something the manager really focused on at the start of the season. We are fighting for each other.”
Pawlett added: “You can’t beat that feeling at full-time when you are high-fiving, hugging and know you have sent the fans home happy. That’s unity.”
Taming the Lions
Pawlett will pursue that sensation once more on Wednesday night when United face a testing trip to a resurgent Livingston.
“We have three games before the international break [Livi, St Johnstone and Hearts],” he added. “We are splitting things up and privately targeting certain points totals.
“It is going to be a tough period but we have a good squad, we are being pushed every day in training and we are all feeling good about ourselves.”