Dylan Levitt has vowed to ‘step up’ in a bid to assuage Dundee United’s midfield selection conundrum.
The Tannadice outfit are without long-term injury victims Pater Pawlett and Ian Harkes, while Kevin McDonald is nursing a muscular issue.
Calum Butcher will not play again this campaign, as confirmed by boss Tam Courts last week.
As such, Levitt lined up in the engine room alongside veteran centre-half Charlie Mulgrew and talented teenager Archie Meekison on Saturday as United claimed a crucial, hard-fought 1-0 win over Motherwell.
And the Wales international was simply masterful — controlling the game, snapping into challenges, making interceptions and bursting forward.
He also notched the winning goal in the first period; his fifth of the season.
Asked whether the lack of midfield options put added onus on him to shine, Levitt said: “Yes, but that’s on me. I have got to step up.
“It is all a learning experience and I have got to show what I can do.
“The lads who came in [against Motherwell] did well well and Saturday was a real complete midfield performance from Charlie, Archie Meekison and I.
“We had to stay compact. We knew what the game-plan was and we stuck to it from the first minute to the last.
“I am delighted to get two goals in my last two games — that’s the first time that’s happened for me — so hopefully there are more to come.
“I am training every day to get better.”
Levitt was fulsome in his praise for Mulgrew and Meekison. Although 18 years separate the duo in age, they were similarly effective in the heart of midfield.
Mulgrew used his experience to break up attacks and recycle possession — even playing through the pain barrier after picking up a slight hamstring knock in the first half.
Meekison was fearless, bursting into the final third with regularity and attempting to unlock the ‘Well defence with flicks and tricks.
“With the experience and calmness that Charlie [Mulgrew] has on the ball, it’s great to have him alongside you,” continued Levitt. “He is always talking and guiding you on what to do.
“Archie [Meekison] has settled in well and you can see how good he is in training every day. The quality that he has shines through.
“He took his chance really well on Saturday — especially with his flick in the lead up to the goal — and hopefully he can kick on.”
United now lead Motherwell by four points and are three ahead of Ross County in the race for fourth.
Tam Courts’ men have a superior goal difference to both.
It would take an almighty collapse for United to plummet back down to sixth; the only way they would miss out on European qualification altogether.
With just three games to play, it is a welcome cushion for United ahead of a testing double-header against Rangers and Celtic.
However, Levitt has dismissed the notion that the Tannadice outfit can enjoy a free hit against the Glasgow giants.
“We expect to take points from every game,” he added pointedly. “With the players that we have, we can control a game, we can grind out results and we have squad depth.
“Hopefully, we can take points from them.”