Cammy Smith admits he didn’t have to think twice about dropping down a league from the Premiership to sign for Dundee United in the Championship.
The 23-year-old joined the Tangerines last week for what is his second spell at the club on a two-year deal for an undisclosed fee, swapping a relegation dogfight with St Mirren for what he hopes is a promotion push at Tannadice.
The playmaker was pitched straight in from the start against Dunfermline in the league last weekend, helping Robbie Neilson’s men to a 1-0 victory and he is hoping to experience that winning feeling once more when United travel to face Montrose at Links Park in the William Hill Scottish Cup today.
Smith said: “In normal circumstances, you would usually have to think long and hard about moving from a Premiership club to the Championship.
“But Dundee United is a big club with loads of potential.
“So the way I see it is that although it’s down a league, hopefully it’s just for a few months.
“This club has the structure and fanbase that if we do go up then it’s ready to go again.
“I looked at the bigger picture.
“With the way the season had gone for me at St Mirren with all the changes, the old manager (Jack Ross) leaving in the summer, then it was an easy decision to make in the end.
“I wasn’t playing as regularly as I wanted, my contract was running down and I didn’t know what the future would be.
“I loved my time at St Mirren, it’s a good club and I have a lot to thank the old manager and Tony Fitzpatrick (Buddies chief executive) for.
“But it was the right time to move on.”
While the league is very much the priority for United this season, Smith is aware that a good cup run can help foster confidence in the Championship.
He added: “I think the last time I played at Montrose was with the Under-18s for Aberdeen.
“It will be totally different this time, there will be a good atmosphere and they will fancy it.
“We want a cup run because the more you win, the better it is.
“A good run in the cup can help you in the league because it breeds confidence.”
Smith was a key component as St Mirren won the Championship title last season and he admits that the ability to grind out wins is just as important as producing free-flowing football.
He said: “It wasn’t pretty on Saturday against Dunfermline but that’s what it’s like in this league sometimes.
“We have quality here so we have enough to win matches and sometimes you have to grind it out.
“I think it was a positive thing we didn’t play particularly well but we still got an important win.
“The Championship is a really hard league to win and although people think you should be winning 2-0 and 3-0 every week, it’s not like that.
“Last season we won the league at St Mirren but we had to grind out a lot of 1-0 wins along the way.
“You have to do the ugly stuff well in this division and that’s why I was pleased with Saturday.”
Smith’s previous spell on loan at Tannadice from Aberdeen was cut short due to a lack of game time but he saw enough while he was at the club to convince him to sign on a permanent deal now.
He added: “When I was here before, it was my first loan spell.
“I enjoyed it at first and scored a hat-trick early but then Tony Andreu was doing well and the gaffer stuck with him.
“But I liked it here, I saw how big the club is and what can be achieved here.
“If you have the right people on board – which I feel we do – then there’s no reason we can’t get this club going again.”