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JIM SPENCE: Dundee United must discover ruthless streak to secure top six finish they SHOULD be targeting

Dundee United must make the most of the winning positions they are finding themselves in to secure a top half finish, says Jim Spence.
Dundee United must make the most of the winning positions they are finding themselves in to secure a top half finish, says Jim Spence.

Dundee United must find more aggression and killer instinct to grab a top six spot, which is where their ambition has to lie.

Tam Courts has lots to be pleased about with his team this season, but they need to play with greater tempo for sustained periods and learn to keep their opponents on the deck when they have the upper hand.

Playing at a high pace in passing and tackling and shutting down the opposition builds a momentum, both physical and mental, which puts opponents on the back foot and wears them down.

United can be very tidy to watch and they move the ball well but doing that at consistently greater speed and pace would give them a rhythm and cadence which could give them a winning outcome.

Dundee United must close out games from winning positions more often

Going a goal up so quickly at Livingston gave the Tangerines an opportunity to add to their advantage but instead, despite enjoying greater possession, Livingston had more shots both on and off target.

The chance to sign an out and out target man came and went in the January window and that glaring omission has been reflected in the ongoing poverty of goals, with just 24 scored. Only Dundee and St Johnstone have poorer ‘goals for’ columns.

Midweek victors Livingston, who are much more poorly resourced, are eight goals better off than United this season and look a decent bet for top six and potentially a European spot.

The Tangerines must locate a higher gear pronto to nail down a top half finish, which is where they should be aiming.

A finish outside of that would be an unacceptable showing for both the investment at the club and the superb backing, particularly on the road, which the fans have given them this season.


St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson

St Johnstone have conceded twice the number of league goals that they’ve scored, while Dundee have scored less than half the number that they’ve shipped.

Those atrocious statistics ensure that one of the pair is heading for automatic relegation, while the other has a great chance of joining them given the strength and mentality of the Championship clubs that they’ll face in the play offs.

There’s little point now in debating the mistakes and lost opportunities to correct the blunders which might have led to different outcomes.

Instead, the playing and coaching staff at Dens and McDiarmid must redouble their efforts to ensure that they come out on top in the brutal dogfight they now face against each other to avoid the guaranteed drop.

Dundee manager Mark McGhee watches his side in their goalless draw with Hibs.

It has looked at various times to me this season that both clubs had decent enough squads to avoid the mess that they’ve become embroiled in but, in football, you tend to get what you deserve over the piece and results and league tables eventually confirm that harsh truth.

Relegation to the Championship isn’t quite a case of ‘abandon hope all ye who enter here’, but it‘ll be an unforgiving place and the financial realities accompanying the descent will be extremely punitive.

There also won’t be much forgiveness from fans for those responsible for taking either club there – and neither should there be.

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