Dundee United host Hibs on Friday night knowing a victory will put them level on points with the Leith men at the top of the Championship.
As recently as late September, you wouldn’t have bet much money on that being the case.
The Tangerines have slowly but surely crept up on the Easter Road side and here are seven key games that have brought about a Tannadice revival under Ray McKinnon.
1 Wednesday, September 20: Lost 2-1 to Greenock Morton in the Betfred Cup quarter-final.
Ten games on, this remains the last time United lost a match.
While it wasn’t a league fixture, it is significant as it was after this result that things began to turn for the better.
It was a sore one at Cappielow, with Morton deserving to go through to the semi-finals. Poor defending helped the hosts score through Jai Quitongo and Thomas O’Ware before the break and Nick van der Velden’s reply wasn’t enough to save the visitors.
That left them out of the cup and, having lost 3-1 to Falkirk in the league the previous Saturday, things weren’t much better on that front. They sat in fifth spot with just eight points – seven behind Hibs and eight adrift of then leaders Queen of the South.
2 Sunday, October 2: Drew 1-1 with Hibs at Easter Road
A glass that was half-full told you that United could close the gap between the teams to three points with a win, while a half-empty tumbler meant the fear of going nine behind.
As it turned out, neither scenario panned out, with the sides finishing all-square instead.
The Hibees saw plenty of the ball and took the lead on 35 minutes through James Keatings, only for William Edjenguele to head home the leveller on 68.
This match stands out for the Tangerines’ resolute defending under pressure, especially the Edjenguele and Mark Durnan combination.
3 Saturday, October 15: Won 2-0 against St Mirren at the Paisley 2021Stadium.
Goals from Scott Fraser and Tony Andreu in either half sealed this impressive away win against the Buddies. The nice chip from Andreu confirmed his status as one of the top players in the division. The victory pushed the fourth-placed Tangerines to within three points of leaders Hibs, who were by now ahead of Queens on goal difference.
4 Saturday October 29: Won 1-0 against Falkirk at Tannadice.
After a hard-earned 2-1 home win over Dumbarton, United were now showing they knew how to edge games in this division. They did exactly that by beating the Bairns in this clash.
The unlikely goal hero was defender Durnan, who fired home with just eight minutes of a tight encounter to go.
The Tangerines were clear in second spot but still three points behind Neil Lennon’s men.
5 Saturday, November 5: Won 4-1 against Queen of the South at Palmerston.
This scoreline was a real eye-opener, with the trip to Dumfries expected to be tricky.
It turned out to be anything but for McKinnon’s players, with their goals coming from Durnan (again), Andreu, Fraser and Simon Murray.
The terrific result was their fifth victory on the bounce and kept them three points behind the Hibees.
6 Tuesday, November 8: Won 1-0 against Dunfermline at Tannadice.
United finally went top – well, joint-top – with another hard-earned success, this time over the Pars.
The visitors helped the Tangerines out by Nat Wedderburn’s red card and they were rewarded for their composure and patience with Murray’s winner 11 minutes from time.
That tied them with Hibernian on the 27-point mark, although their promotion rivals had a goal difference four better than theirs.
7 Saturday: November 19: Drew 0-0 with Greenock Morton at Cappielow.
United went into this game two behind Hibs, after the Easter Road men had drawn with Falkirk at the same time as United were involved in Irn-Bru Cup duty the previous weekend.
They finished the day at Cappielow three points adrift and that’s where it stands now.
This wasn’t a bad result for the Tannadice side, though, with the third-placed Greenock outfit a decent team.
It was also enough to keep the momentum – and the 10-game unbeaten run – going and confidence is high after putting themselves in prime position to pull level with Hibs.