A false dawn can be defined as a promising situation which comes to nothing.
Dundee United supporters have suffered more than their fair share of those in recent seasons, as we shall see.
The good news, though, is that this exciting upturn in form under new manager Csaba Laszlo doesn’t have the look or feel of a false dawn.
Such was the quality of the football on show against Falkirk and so numerous are the good vibes coming out of the dressing room, this appears to be the real deal.
It is surely tempting fate to write such daring words ahead of United’s trip to Brechin on Saturday but, hey, I’m ready to stick my neck out here.
My bold prediction – which isn’t very bold if you saw them against Dumbarton, St Mirren and, especially, the Bairns – is the Tangerines will now go on and dominate the Championship.
Some students of history, well United’s history at least, will no doubt point to previous occasions when hopes have been raised only to be cruelly dashed.
That’s fair enough and it’s only right to reflect so here goes:
Motherwell 0 United 2. August 8, 2015.
The Tangerines were sitting pretty in fourth spot in the Premiership after a Louis Laing own goal a late strike by Simon Murray gave them victory at Fir Park. The problem was that they didn’t win again in the league until October 31 – a 1-0 success over Ross County at Tannadice – and were rooted at the bottom of the table.
St Johnstone 0 United 1. April 2, 2016.
This was United’s first win at McDiarmid Park in four years against a Saints team that usually caused them so much trouble. When keeper Alan Mannus fumbled a Ryan Dow shot into the net on 22 minutes some were predicting that the Tangerines could beat the drop. It put them just five points behind second-bottom Kilmarnock with a game in hand but they then lost their next four league games, culminating in the Doon Derby defeat to Dundee that saw them relegated.
United 2 St Mirren 1. December 24, 2016.
United were bang in form going into this game – they had gone over 600 minutes without conceding a goal – and were putting the pressure on Championship favourites Hibs. Indeed, this win – Scott Fraser and Murray got the goals – put Ray McKinnon’s team top of the table, two points clear of the Hibees. Remarkably, though, the feelgood factor was destroyed by a Hogmanay horror show at Dumbarton and they would not win again in the league until a home success over Raith Rovers on February 4.
Dunfermline 1 United 3. September 30, 2017.
As was the case with last Sunday’s game against Falkrik, this scoreline flattered the opposition. United were 3-0 up and cruising before the Pars got a late consolation goal. Fraser Fyvie was an outstanding man-of-the-match and grabbed two goals either side of Scott McDonald’s counter. Leaving East End Park that day, you were convinced that the Tangerines would kick on. Instead they were terrible against Livingston next time out and then lost 2-0 at home to Inverness Caley Thistle. Just three weeks after seeing his side hammer the Pars, it was the end of the road for manager Ray McKinnon.
Apologies to any supporter unable to stop the shivers running up and down his or her spine after reading the above.
They should rest easy, though, because this time it will be different.
PS: Does anyone have a tin hat and ear plugs I can borrow for Saturday teatime just in case?