Charlie Mulgrew has grown accustomed to the slings and arrows of criticism.
But it doesn’t make the dark days any easier to stomach.
Now 37 years of age, Mulgrew has enjoyed a stellar career. More than 500 senior games for the likes of Celtic, Blackburn and Wolves; seven major honours; 44 international appearances for Scotland.
But it has not always been plain sailing, least of all at Dundee United this season.
The experienced centre-half endured a maddening first-half of the campaign due to injury and, upon his return, failed to reach the heights of last term, when he helped United secure European qualification.
The nadir came when the Tangerines were decimated Dingwall, with Ross County running riot in a 4-0 win that proved to be the death knell for Liam Fox’s time in charge of United.
No visiting player achieved pass marks that day, but Ryan Edwards and Mulgrew were particularly exposed at the back.
It is a testament to the turnaround in recent weeks — and Mulgrew’s excellent performances under Jim Goodwin — that the lamentable afternoon in the Highlands now seems like a mighty long time ago.
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“I’ve had ups and downs during my career but that doesn’t make it any easier,” Mulgrew told Courier Sport.
“When you are in that moment, it’s a difficult place to be.
“Thinking to the Ross County match, that was a really low moment. There have been a few this season.
“We’re happy with the results we’ve picked up lately and it’s good to have the confidence back. We were really low at a point, and it wasn’t nice at all.
“But we can’t take this feeling for granted. We can’t be complacent. We need to keep that edge and be ready for the next challenge.”
The only answer
Indeed, while a 27-year-old is generally allowed a questionable period of form, the questions tend to be more stark at 37.
The F-word starts to be thrown around by some onlookers, particularly in the harsh environs of social media.
But Mulgrew has looked anything but during recent outings.
He played the full 90 minutes in victories over Hibernian, Motherwell and Livingston and has cultivated an excellent partnership with Loick Ayina in the heart of defence.
“That’s the game,” continued Mulgrew. “I’ve been in this long enough to know that.
“If you don’t get results, some people will ask questions like that. It’s up to players performances in, get results and answer it that way.
“We have ALL done that over the last three games — now we’ve got to keep it going.”
He added: “I am enjoying it. I enjoy it when we win football matches and when I am helping my team towards that. The fans; staff; the players — we all feel that way, and you can see us all coming together.”
Mulgrew: It’s all up to Loick
Mulgrew enjoyed seven successful years in English football, leaving him superbly placed to analyse the undoubted potential of on-loan Huddersfield Town defender Ayina.
The French teenager has become an immediate hit with fans following a string of superb performances. His pace, power, technique and confidence are apparent — and Mulgrew reckons he has all the ingredients to be a hit south of the border.
“Loick is really good player,” continued Mulgrew. “He actually played with a bad knock on his ankle last Saturday, which just shows his character. He is still learning the game but has some really good attributes.
“If he keeps progressing the way he is, Loick will have a great career. It is all down to him, to keep moving forward; keep learning; keep listening.
“I’m doing what I can to help him. He’s still very young so there’s that bit of concentration to work on — I need to keep on him, sometimes — but he reacts well to that.
“I’m really enjoying playing alongside him.”