Paul McMullan has revealed he has fallen in love with football again thanks to Robbie Neilson’s new managerial regime at Dundee United.
McMullan was the man of the match on Saturday as the Tangerines got the Neilson era off to a flying start with a 2-1 win over Partick Thistle at Firhill.
It is no secret that the player didn’t enjoy the best of relationships with previous boss Csaba Laszlo and his game time was limited.
Now, though, McMullan suddenly looks like a key member of the squad under Neilson and is looking to keep the momentum going today when Inverness Caley Thistle visit Tannadice.
McMullan said: “I really enjoyed it against Partick and, for the first time in a good while, I can honestly say that.
“I came off the pitch at half-time with a smile on my face – I was enjoying it so much.
“I think you play your best football when you are like that and long may that continue.
“The manager has been great. You can see he has lifted the spirits even further.
“Of course, every manager is different. Csaba came from a different country so had different training techniques and ideas.
“As a player, it’s about adapting to those differences.
“The sessions have been shorter under the new gaffer and I think the lads have really enjoyed them so far.
“This is a fantastic dressing-room but when things aren’t going well it can be difficult.
“If we can keep playing like we did last Saturday and get results I’m sure we can really kick on.
“That’s the plan anyway.”
It was significant that, under Neilson, United played such a high pressing game against the Jags.
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Indeed, their second goal – scored by Pavol Safranko – came about thanks to a combination of the Slovak and McMullan winning the ball off Stuart Bannigan.
McMullan said: “That’s down to how the manager wants to play.
“That’s the way he set us up.
“If he wants us to do the same again for this game against Inverness then that’s great.
“We pressed as high as we could towards their goal and it worked well for us at Thistle.
“At the end of the day, the closer you can get to their goal the better chance you have of scoring.
“It paid off for Safranko’s goal so it does definitely work.”
Neilson made a lot of the 1,000-strong travelling support at Firhill and admitted he is now looking forward to his first home game in charge.
The same goes for McMullan, who said: “The fans have been great with me since I’ve been at the club.
“Wherever we go, we have a very good following, as was shown at Thistle last weekend.
“I’m sure there will be another good turnout for Inverness and hopefully we can get the three points for them.
“They can give you that wee bit extra energy during games and we’ll be hoping that’s the case again.7″It’s still early in the season but, having said that, if we can get a few wins together we can get closer to the top and you never know what can happen.
“Our goal has never changed from the start of the season – we want to win the league.
“I don’t see any reason why it should change. We know what we’re capable of on our day.
“I felt at Thistle we played much better football which was much more pleasing on the eye.
“That’s what the fans want to see and that’s what we’re striving hard for.”