Ray McKinnon knows better than most how Dundee United’s fans raise their game when it really matters.
The manager saw, heard and appreciated the brilliant backing his players received during the play-off matches last season, especially on the memorable Friday night at Falkirk when the massed ranks of tangerine all but willed Paul Dixon’s late winner into the net.
The punters played their part yet again during the summer, meeting then surpassing the club’s self-imposed season ticket sales target.
So, despite all the pain and anguish of relegation then the failure to go back up, United’s fans have stood by their club.
For the first time this season, though, some appeared to lose the faith during the 1-1 home draw with Dumbarton, with boos heard both at half-time and at the final whistle.
McKinnon fully appreciates both their frustration at the club’s current form and their burning desire to see their team back where they feel they belong in the Premiership.
However, as they prepare to face Falkirk away again on Saturday, he would love to see some of that play-off game spirit come to the fore as the Tangerines look to get their promotion bid back on track.
He said: “The fans were absolutely excellent that night and helped the team win.
“It would be nice if we could buy into that again, with everyone saying: ‘Let’s get behind the team.’
“The supporters can have such a significant impact on the players.
“They have had it rough for the last two or three years and are desperate to get back to the Premiership.
“Everybody at the club is desperate to get back up, though.
“We all want the same thing.
“I want it and so do the players, who were as disappointed as anybody after Saturday.
“There are some performance levels from certain players in certain areas of the park that need to improve but I believe they will.
“We are going to Falkirk looking to be positive and to win the game.
“We will have bodies back and our fitness up so hopefully we will go into that match in better shape than we have done in recent games.
“Every team that goes to Falkirk expects a hard time, though, and we would include ourselves in that.”