Ross Docherty is adamant Dundee United have the gumption to bounce back from successive defeats amid Raith Rovers’ rise to the summit of the Championship.
United were dumped out of the SPFL Trust Trophy and Scottish Cup in the space of eight days, losing out to League One sides Falkirk and Queen of the South.
Their hopes of a response last weekend fell foul to Mother Nature, with the Tangerines’ visit to Morton postponed due to a frozen Cappielow surface.
Meanwhile, Raith Rovers roared to the top of the table with a breathless 4-3 triumph over Partick Thistle on Friday night – albeit Jim Goodwin’s men would usurp them with a win this afternoon.
“It (the title race) is going to be tough, and these teams are not going to go away,” insisted the Tannadice skipper. “For us, it has been kind of plain sailing so far in the league.
“But after these last two games (Falkirk and Queens), and the run Raith are on – coming back and winning games – it is a wee test for us now. Do we have the character to roll our sleeves up when results haven’t gone our way?
“Looking about the dressing-room, I am confident we do.”
“A culmination of things…”
While describing last week’s Cappielow call-off as “frustrating” – particularly as Raith Rovers then secured a dramatic win in Inverness – the free weekend did allow Docherty another few days of full training.
The 30-year-old only returned from a four-week layoff against Queens and, by Goodwin’s own admission, played half-an-hour longer than he initially intended.
So, the extra recovery was welcome for Docherty, who is determined to enjoy a concerted run in the side after niggling issues with both hamstrings and his groin this season.
“I don’t think it was one specific thing, it was a culmination,” said Docherty, when asked if the club had got to the bottom of his persistent niggles.
“You are getting used to the way a new manager works, different training surfaces, aspects in the gym – all that stuff.
“But I have spoken to the physios and the sports scientists, and we have come up with a plan.
“The little niggles have been frustrating; you are going out and then coming back, going out and coming back. The manager must be frustrated as well!”
He added: “It is about getting a bit of consistency now, in terms of playing and being injury free.”
Tony Watt triumph
Meanwhile, Docherty will relish the opportunity to play at Tannadice for the first time since November 4 – after meeting a swathe of supporters in person this week.
There was a massive turn-out at Tenpin in Dundee on Monday night as United hosted their annual calendar signing.
Initially expected to last an hour, the meet-and-greet stretched to double that as delighted fans took the opportunity to rub shoulders their heroes.
But for all he enjoyed that aspect of the night, Docherty was still left with wounded pride when they got to the lanes.
“Tony (Watt) beat me, but I was using my left and right hands!” laughed Docherty.
“Who else was good? Well, I saw a wee video where Scotty McMann had a good strike.
“And Moulty (Louis Moult) looked so stiff!
“No, it was really nice to meet all the fans and there was a great turn-out.”