Dundee United boss Robbie Neilson has revealed he has opened talks with Paul McMullan over extending his stay at the club.
Back in August, it looked likely that the 22-year-old was heading for the Tannadice exit after the former Celtic youngster was told by previous manager Csaba Laszlo he was surplus to requirements.
However, since Neilson took over, McMullan has become a key player and the manager is keen to persuade him to commit his future to the Tangerines.
Neilson, speaking ahead of Sunday’s eagerly-awaited Scottish Cup semi-final with Inverness, said: “We spoke to Paul but we’ve not taken it any further than that.
“He’s a player that I really like and I would like to try and extend.
“We are in the very early stages of that. I spoke about getting the January window out of the way and then we would see where we are, but we’ve had a chat with him and we will take it further.
“He’s got great attributes. He’s got pace and energy as well as some attributes that very few players in Scotland have.
“It’s just trying to get the best out of him on a consistent basis.”
Neilson added: “We forget how young he is. He’s still a young kid and he’s still learning the game.
“We have to be patient at times and I hope he has a big future here.
“I’m glad he stayed. There’s not a lot of players that we produce in Scotland who have his pace, energy, work ethic and his fitness levels as well.
“We just need to polish off the fine details of them and get that consistency of doing the right thing at the right time which will come.”
Meanwhile, Neilson admitted that although he is a big admirer of on-loan Aberdeen centre-half Mark Reynolds it will be the player himself who will have the decisive say in his future.
The 31-year-old defender, who has battled back from a cruciate injury, has been impressive since joining the Tangerines last month and is out of contract at Pittodrie in the summer.
Neilson added: “Mark is just getting back and obviously he’s a Premiership player.
“We are really pleased with him coming into the group.
“He’s still trying to get himself back from that long period out.
“Ultimately Mark will make a decision about what he wants to do with his future, but he’s a player that I really like.”