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5 milestones Dundee United can hit during Championship title victory lap

There is still plenty to play for as the Tangerines enjoy their final two league games.

Dundee United's Louis Moult.
Louis Moult is chasing the top scorer crown. Image: SNS

Dundee United’s job is done.

Boasting a six-point lead over Raith Rovers with two games left – supplemented by a superior goal difference of 36 – the Tangerines felt emboldened to get their title party started at Tannadice last weekend.

But, with the players now back in training following a weekend of festivities in Dundee and Glasgow, preparation turns to upcoming encounters against Airdrieonians and Partick Thistle.

Jim Goodwin has urged his side to relish a pressure-free denouement to the campaign, while seeking to continue their recent momentum.

Dundee United manager Jim Goodwin applauds his side
Jim Goodwin is keen for his side to end the season in style. Image: Shutterstock.

And, while their primary goal has been achieved, there are plenty milestones for Dundee United still to play for, as Courier Sport finds.

Best points total since Rangers

With 71 points, United have already usurped Dundee’s title-winning tally of 63 last term – indeed, so have Raith Rovers (65) – and the 67 points required for Kilmarnock to gain promotion the prior season.

Discounting the atypical campaigns affected by Covid, Goodwin’s charges have already equalled Ross County’s champion total of 2018/19.

One must go back to 2017/18 for a higher return of points, with Jack Ross’ free-flowing St Mirren side racking up 74 on their way back to the top-flight. However, this United team still has two games to play.

Chris Mochrie celebrates after rippling the net for Dundee United
Mochrie celebrates after firing Dundee United back to the big time. Image: Shutterstock.

Four points from an available six would see them better the Buddies’ total and, in doing so, register the highest points tally of any Championship winner since Rangers in 2015/16 (81 points).

Top scorer AND most assists in the Championship

It would take an almighty effort from Ayr United winger Jamie Murphy to rob Glenn Middleton of his crown as most prolific creator in the Scottish Championship.

With 13 assists to his name, Middleton is a full three ahead of the Honest Men veteran with just two games left to play. Nevertheless, the Tannadice flyer will undoubtedly be hungry to add to his haul in the final fixtures.

But can United make it a double?

Louis Moult wheels away in celebration
Louis Moult still has an outside chance of being the Championship’s top scorer. Image: SNS

That would be an altogether more impressive feat.

Partick Thistle talisman Brian Graham has rippled the net 20 times on league duty and, as such, the ageless marksman is firmly in pole position to finish the season as top scorer.

Louis Moult is in second place with 17 and, while time is running out, that is not insurmountable for a striker of his ability who gets the service he has enjoyed in recent weeks.

Allied with the fact Moult is chasing a 20-goal campaign for the first time in his career, don’t expect the former Motherwell hero to slow down during the run-in.

Best defensive record since introduction of a 36-game season

Barring a couple of blips, United’s backline has been watertight. The foundation of their success.

The Terrors have racked up 18 clean sheets in 34 league games, with the current centre-back partnership of Ross Graham and Sam McClelland succeeding in meeting the lofty standards of Declan Gallagher and Kevin Holt.

Dundee United's Sam McClelland in action
Sam McClelland turned in another impressive showing at the heart of defence on Saturday. Image: SNS

Not that it has been all about the centre-backs.

The steadiness of Jack Walton, work of Scott McMann, Liam Grimshaw and Miller Thomson, allied with boss Goodwin’s insistence that EVERY player has a tireless defensive duty to carry out, has contributed.

And IF United can secure another two shutouts – no easy feat, given the attacking prowess of a slick Airdrieonians side and in-form Thistle – then their 22 goals conceded will set a 29-year benchmark.

No team has conceded fewer goals since the second tier restructured to a 36-game season in 1994/95. St Johnstone, with 23 (1996/97), are the team to beat.

6 in a row?

United are already enjoying their longest run of consecutive Championship wins this season, with four on the spin.

The imperative to extend that to six in a row is certainly not the same as if the title was still in the balance, nevertheless it would still be a worthy feat.

That has only occurred once in the last decade, when Robbie Neilson’s rampant Terrors went on to win NINE Championship games in a row on their way to the Covid-curtailed title of 2019/20.

Jon Daly helps Dundee United to a win over Rangers in 2012 during a run of six successive league wins.
Jon Daly helps United to a win over Rangers in 2012 during a run of six successive league wins. Image: SNS

Prior to that, Peter Houston’s Tangerines pieced together six successive victories in the Premiership between February 21 and March 31, 2012; a sequence that included a 2-1 win over Rangers at Tannadice.

The ever-present Glenn Middleton

If Middleton features in United’s next two games, he will have taken part in EVERY one of their competitive fixtures this season – the only outfield player to do so.

Jack Walton, predictably, has been ever-present.

It is a more common feat for goalkeepers.

Glenn Middleton is hauled back as he seeks to make headway.
Glenn Middleton is hauled back as he seeks to make headway. Image: Shutterstock.

However, Middleton could become the first outfield United ace to play in 100% of games since John Rankin in 2011/12.

Before that? Alan Archibald in 2004/05.

It is a rare achievement, particularly for a winger; a position often characterised by inconsistency and fluctuating form.

That statistic certainly speaks to Middleton’s fitness and durability, allied with the end product of his 19 goal contributions in 42 outings.