Paul McMullan gives Dundee United fans a glimpse of more to come

Paul McMullan.

If first impressions are reliable, Dundee United fans have the winger they’ve been craving.

Paul McMullan’s style of play will be a huge asset in breaking down packed Championship defences in the Tangerines’ title challenge this season.

And his eye for a goal won’t do them any harm either.

The former Celtic wideman opened the scoring against Raith Rovers at the weekend, setting the hosts on their way to a day one Betfred Cup victory.

As debuts go, this fell into the highly satisfactory category.

“I’m delighted with the way it went,” McMullan admitted.

“The first half was a bit slow and we couldn’t get going to be honest but in the second half, shooting down the hill, we really pushed on and once I got the first goal things opened up for us and we could have had another couple if we’d been a bit more clinical.”

The second half goal was a lovely curled finish from just inside the box and McMullan, who has got loan experience under his belt at Stenhousemuir, Morton, St Mirren and Dunfermline, was glad to re-establish the family pecking order.

He explained: “My dad had been giving me a bit of stick because he was telling me my wee brother (Connor) scored a belter the other week in a friendly for Stirling Albion.

“I was pointing to him in the stand to let him know that I’d matched it.

“It’s probably one of the best I’ve scored.

“I think I got seven last year and I’ll definitely be looking to better that.

“I definitely want to add more goals to my game. It’s something the gaffer’s on to me about as well. Anytime the ball’s down the other side he wants me to get in the box and get goals.

“To start with a goal is really pleasing and hopefully there will be plenty more to come.”

McMullan is a Celtic youth product and there are shades of another Parkhead winger, James Forrest, in the 21-year-old’s style of play.

“I’d definitely be happy with that comparison,” he said.

“He’s direct and likes to get at defenders and he’s an international player. It’s a real compliment to hear people say that.

“He’s spoken to me and given me bits of advice. Things like ‘be confident’, ‘don’t doubt yourself’ and ‘be as direct as you can’. I’ll try to take that forward in my game.

“The manager wants me to get at defenders – be direct and stretch defences – but that’s my game anyway.”

Two other new boys were responsible for United’s second. Sam Stanton, who has arrived from Hibs on a one-year loan deal, won a penalty, and another ex-Easter Road man, James Keatings, put it away.

In total there were nine debuts, six from the start and three off the bench (one of them being a teenager snapped up recently from Southampton, Archie Thomas).

McMullan said: “We’ve had a few friendlies to get to know each other but the competitive stuff is a bit different. It maybe took us a half to get to know each other’s runs and things like that.

“Once it clicked, though, you could see the number of chances we created and hopefully that’s a good sign.

“This is a really good place to play your football. I enjoyed coming here when I was an away player. It’s a good pitch and a big stadium. The backing of the fans will help now that I’m with the home team.

“We want to win every game and we’ll have the same approach up in Buckie on Wednesday.

“Hopefully we can qualify from the group.”

After Buckie come Cowdenbeath, and then there’s the Dundee city derby at Dens Park, which could well be a Group C decider.

“The boys are really looking forward to the Dundee game,” said McMullan. “Hopefully we can get the two wins before then and look to top the group.

“I’ve watched a few of the derbies on the tele and a few of the boys here have told me what they’re like to play in.”

Ray McKinnon was a content manager at full-time on Saturday.

He said: “It was a good start. We’ve still got a bit to go in terms of sharpness but I’m happy with that.

“Raith were strong and well organised.

“As the game went on the new boys felt at home playing at Tannadice.

“They settled down after the goal and showed more confidence on the ball.”