Dick Campbell won’t thank me for saying it, but his Arbroath side are definitely serious promotion contenders.
Their win at Kilmarnock last weekend – their first ever at Rugby Park – indicates the phenomenal progress made at Gayfield.
After 15 games, the Lichties are within touching distance of top spot in a seriously competitive Championship where five clubs are separated by just two points.
The boys are back at Gayfield on Saturday, make sure you are there too!
Season tickets NOT valid
Online Tickets only / There is NO Pay at the Gate
Arbroath tickets https://t.co/Hzjhz1xXUM
Forfar Athletic tickets https://t.co/OVit3aPBjl
— Arbroath FC (@ArbroathFC) November 25, 2021
Depth and size of squad gives full-time clubs a natural advantage over part-time teams, but in terms of ability and quality, Arbroath can match any side in the league.
They are in Scottish Cup action this weekend against Forfar.
But Dick Campell’s boys have proven beyond any doubt that they’re right in the mix for a Premiership place next season.
The next seven days won’t be ones that shake the world, but they might cause those in charge at Dens Park, McDiarmid Park and Tannadice to feel a significant tremor.
Three games in that short period offer the prospect of progress, but also of peril, depending on results.
Dundee, who have been linked with Bohemians striker Georgie Kelly, have had a decent break to refresh minds and bodies and, with Motherwell and St Johnstone at home before a dangerous trip to Ibrox, they need to use that home advantage to pull away from the basement.
There are several players at Dens who have been given a lifeline by manager James McPake. They owe him a turn.
— curtis-sport (@CurtisSport) November 25, 2021
Saints, who could include new signing Viv Solomon-Otabor this weekend, also have the luxury of a home fixture against league toilers Hibs before a fraught midweek derby at Dens, followed by a visit to Ross County, who have shown some slight signs of revival.
Callum Davidson’s side must soon find answers to chronic net shyness.
Eight goals scored in 13 league outings is a grim statistic and only superb defensive work with just twelve conceded, a figure bettered only by Celtic, makes that look less grisly.
United boss Tam Courts expects a rough reception from Ross County fans and, with the Dingwall club twice having been on the receiving end of unproven racist allegations, firstly from Rangers and then at Tannadice, he is unlikely to be disappointed.
On the pitch, United’s season continues to reward their ambitions.
Along with Hearts they’re now looking most likely to fight it out for third place and a European spot.
The appointment of Ryan Edwards as captain is a sound one.
An ever-present and a rock in defence, his inspirational leadership and communication qualities have been a major part of United’s success story this season, and the move will hopefully solidify their development.
As it does for their city neighbours, the week ahead brings serious challenges.
After what is likely to be a real test at County, a second road trip to high-flying Motherwell, followed by a Tannadice visit by Celtic, lie in store.
🗣 "We're clear in our game plan, the players understand it and it's a match that we're really looking forward to."
— Dundee United FC (@dundeeunitedfc) November 26, 2021
Those three games offer great opportunities to build on this season’s advancements, but they also present the risk of the wheels coming off the wagon.
It’s said a week is a long time in politics but it can also be a lengthy period in football too.
It’ll be intriguing to see what picture emerges after the next seven days which could have a major impact on the fortunes of all three clubs for the season ahead.