Dundee United struggled to rescue a point against Dumbarton at home on Saturday. It was a bad result and a poor performance. Our football writer Ian Roache comes up with five things that might help get them back on track.
1 They need to lose the nerves.
The Tangerines got way too anxious way too early in the game against Dumbarton.
That resulted, too often, in mistakes being made and a lack of composure at times, both when trying to make passes and in front of goal.
Dundee United players should not be getting worried or nervous at any time at Tannadice, never mind early in the first half against a team of part-timers.
2 Go with two up front.
United did improve noticeably when striker Patrick N’Koyi came on at half-time for midfielder Sam Stanton to play alongside Scott McDonald.
He may not be a world-beater but N’Koyi still shook things up and, regardless of the pressure on them this season, United should feel able to go with two up front at home against sides like the Sons.
My feeling is manager Ray McKinnon would ideally like to go with a fit James Keatings and McDonald in a partnership, with N’Koyi as back up.
3 Get everyone match-fit.
There was probably only one real positive for United on Saturday and that was the sight of sub Keatings hammering home a freekick to get the late equaliser.
McKinnon targeted the end of August to have all his players up and running but they aren’t there yet.
Some key men still looked sluggish.
Keatings should be a regular starter now that he is over his injury trouble.
They could also do with the experienced, cool head of Tam Scobbie back in the team but that will have to wait a few weeks yet.
4 A big result and performance would help.
Come on United, just go to Falkirk and win well.
What a boost it would be for everyone at the club if they could get an eye-catching victory away to the Bairns on Saturday.
It would be an even bigger boost if they could turn on the style in the process.
They have it in them but at the moment it is well hidden. They look stodgy and lacking in confidence.
A good win this weekend and they might even find themselves back at the top of the league again.
5 Appreciate they are lucky not to be further behind.
Speaking of the top of the table, United’s players should have a glance at the Championship and consider themselves extremely fortunate.
To have been as bad as they have been in their last three league games and still only be two points off the top is a considerable bonus.
They may not be playing like the title favourites they are still considered to be but they remain well in touch despite their poor form.
The gap can’t be allowed to grow, though, so it’s time for the players to wake up.