Paul McMullan hopes the battling win over St Mirren will make Dundee United believe they can still salvage promotion from this season.
The Tangerines kept the tempo high for the full 90 minutes against the Buddies on Tuesday, snapping at their opponents’ heels and putting up a wall of resistance at the back.
That tenacity earned them a crucial 1-0 victory thanks to Billy King’s third-minute goal and it stopped the Paisley men celebrating winning the Championship title that night.
More importantly than stopping the party, though, the determined display surely gave the United players confidence they can win all of their remaining fixtures against Falkirk today, Brechin on Tuesday then Queen of the South and Livingston on the following two Saturdays.
If they can do that they might even finish as runners-up behind the Buddies and have two fewer play-off matches to negotiate.
McMullan said: “We do need to believe in ourselves more.
“We have had sticky spells and sometimes it is hard to get out of them but hopefully that St Mirren result will just give us a nudge in the right direction.
“We just have to look to put as many points on the board as possible and see where we finish – it’s as simple as that for us.
“If it’s fourth, third or second – you just have to take whatever comes and deal with it.
“First and foremost, there is still work to do to make sure we get into the play-offs. Then, if we can then finish second that would be brilliant but we’re just looking at it game by game.”
McMullan had one of his best games of the season in midweek, taking every opportunity to run at the defence and providing the cutback that was slammed into the net by King.
He said: “I think we got the early goal and then looked after the game, making sure there were no mistakes at the back.
“I think we defended really well and we also could have nicked another goal on the break.
“They maybe had more of the pressure but I thought we were the ones with the better clear-cut chances.
“Other than their hitting the bar, I don’t remember saying to myself too often: ‘Oh, we got away with one there.’
“We certainly didn’t hang on even though they did put us under pressure, as you would expect from a team that was going for the league title.”
McMullan is making the most of the game time he is getting from boss Csaba Laszlo and looks more like the player he was right at the start of the season.
He said: “It is nice to get a run in the team for the first time in a wee while.
“I am just trying to do well and am playing with a wee bit of confidence just now.
“I am just trying to do everything I can to help the team.”
As for the Bairns, McMullan admitted that the 6-1 defeat they dished out back in January was a asore one for the United players.
He said: “That one did leave a sour taste in the mouth.
“Hopefully, going back to our place we can do something similar to what they did to us.”