Robbie Neilson has dismissed the idea that his Dundee United team are big game flops.
The Tannadice side were knocked out of the Scottish Cup by Inverness Caley Thistle, the latest of 12 live television matches in a row they have failed to win.
But Neilson has insisted that doesn’t mean his team have got a problem in high profile fixtures.
“I don’t think so,” he said.
“Probably the biggest club we’ve played this season have been St Mirren and we went to their ground and turned them over in the cup.
“That was a big game. Ross County away was a big game. I think we were eight behind at the time and it was a must-win.
“There have been a couple in which we’ve disappointed but there have been others when the players have stepped up to the plate.
“We’re still coming together as a group. They’re all still getting to know each other.
“We’ve lost one game – a cup game which we fought our way back into and got on top, and only lost to a 94th minute flick-on that somebody switches off at.
“We can’t get carried away. In the games previously we were doing exceptionally well. We were undefeated for a long time.
“There is still positivity. The players are doing exceptionally well and the fans have been brilliant. We’ve had a little blip – a two second switch-off in the cup has cost us. Win at Partick, though, and nobody is interested in the cup.”
Victory at Firhill got Neilson’s reign off to a perfect start and anything less than a repeat would big a blow to their hopes of catching Ross County.
“There are 10 games to go and we’ve got to try and win them all,” he said. “That starts with Partick.
“You need to keep grinding.
“The priority for the football club has always been the league. The Scottish Cup was important and nice to be involved in but it’s in the league where we must perform and where we must get out of.
“As soon as the Inverness game was done it was all about moving forward into the Partick match as quickly as we can. The only way we can move forward is to win on Saturday.”
Neilson was at Firhill to watch Thistle earn a cup replay against Hearts.
“In the first half I thought Hearts were pretty dominant but second half Partick took the game to them and had opportunities,” he said.
“They are on the up, I believe.
“They suffered because you have that hangover and negativity when you get relegated. Gary (Caldwell) has changed things and has brought in good experience.
“Other teams are picking up points at the same time, though. If it had been a normal season Gary would probably have got them out of relegation trouble.
“There will probably be four or five involved at that end of the table and four or five at the top end.
“It’s difficult to win but it’s also difficult for your rivals to win as well. There are no givens.
“Every weekend is hard to predict. You need to win because there’s a chance that others will slip up.”
🏟 Firhill (Energy Check Stadium)
🗓 Sat 09/03
🎟 Pay at the gate. Adults £20, Concessions £15, Under 16s £5
🧡🖤 United fans housed in Colin Weir Stand (Main Stand)
— Dundee United FC (@dundeeunitedfc) March 5, 2019
Meanwhile, Neilson, who will welcome Calum Butcher and Osman Sow back into his squad, didn’t want to talk specifically about the departure of coaching duo Scott Robertson and Craig Easton, but he did address the need for change as a whole.
“I’ve made a lot of changes,” he said. “To the academy and the first team.
“We had to move things about. When I initially came in it was about the playing staff. The academy has had a big change which I thing is important because it’s probably been neglected.
“Then there’s the coaching staff as well. We’ll assess it again in the summer.
“We want to get the best players and the best people that we can at the football club – playing, coaching and staffing.”