Play-off hopefuls Dundee United must find ruthless streak, insists Grant Gillespie

Grant Gillespie.

Grant Gillespie wants Dundee United to discover their ruthless streak at Glebe Park tonight.

After two consecutive wins over St Mirren and Falkirk, the Tangerines find themselves in the unusual position – certainly for this season – of enjoying something of a feelgood factor.

Those two 1-0 successes over the Buddies and Bairns have pushed them right back into  play-off contention and even given them an outside chance of catching second-placed Livingston.

If they can collect another three points this evening against Brechin City then they will move into third spot ahead of Dunfermline and be only a solitary point behind Livi, who would then have a game in hand.

United are looking to still be in contention for the runners-up spot when they host the West Lothian men at Tannadice on the final day of the regular season and that means they must win tonight.

Gillespie would love it if they could do so with a goal or two to spare.

He said: “The last two wins have been massive for us and the boys have taken a lot of confidence from them.

“They were probably not two of the prettiest performances we have had this season but there are an extra six points on the board so that’s great.

“We were quite happy to win ugly because confidence comes from getting victories no matter how you achieve them.

“It gives you that lift, whether it’s 1-0 or by a few goals.

“We have managed to get the first goal in games and that has given us something to hold on to.

“I think we have been more solid all over the park,” added Gillespie.

“In those games we didn’t feel like we were going to concede. We felt comfortable to that’s encouraging.

“The boys at the back have been brilliant so that’s something for us to build on.

“Perhaps the only thing that has been missing is the ruthlessness that you want to see.

“We have had chances to kill games off and the fact we didn’t go on to get more goals has been the one disappointment recently. That has been the only thing missing.

“You don’t want to give the opposition encouragement that they can get back into the game so it would have been nice to finish the chances off.

“Once it clicks in front of goal, though, we could take three or four off somebody.”

Gillespie, who won promotion with Hamilton Accies via the play-offs in 2014, is only too aware that tonight’s opponents haven’t won a league match all season.

He was asked if that made him just a wee bit nervous about going up there.

He replied: “You don’t really want to think about that.

“Obviously, it has been a tough season for them.

“I suppose it is a potential banana skin, if you like, but we need to go there and be as professional as we can.

“You must show the same spirit, no matter if you are playing Brechin or St Mirren. It is 90 minutes and 11 versus 11.

“It is all about us going there and doing the job we are paid to do.”

Tonight’s fixture is United’s final midweek match until the play-offs, if they get there.

It has been a hectic schedule but Gillespie feels the addition of Bilel Mohsni and Anthony Ralston to the squad has been a big help in coping with the physical demands.

He said: “Bilel has been brilliant since he came in.

“He is very good in the air – very commanding – and has shored us up at the back a bit.

“He has also shown that he is good on the ball as well.

“For me, he probably takes too many risks but that’s his game and you will never change that.

“The pair of us have had a few arguments on the pitch in the last two games but afterwards we have laughed it off as heat of the moment stuff.

“He is a gentle giant, really.

“I think we got big Bilel and Anthony in at the right time because they have given us a bit of a spark.

“They have given us fresh legs which we have probably needed due to the number of games.

“They have given us that extra energy at exactly the right time.”

United boss Csaba Laszlo, who will have Jamie Robson and Emil Lyng available, will be giving City plenty of respect tonight despite their winless record.

He said: “If you play against St Mirren or against Brechin for me there is no difference, especially if you play away.

“Brechin are playing for their pride.

“They know they are relegated but they have pride.

“For us every game there is pressure and we have to handle that.”