Paul McMullan’s importance to Dundee United has gone through the roof in recent weeks.
And the in-form Tangerines’ forward is relieved that his man-of-the-match performances now include a goalscoring contribution.
McMullan caused panic in the Ayr United defence every time he ran at them on Friday night – just as he had done against Ross County seven days earlier.
The big difference on this occasion was he came up with a crucial strike this time – his first since October – to clinch three points for Robbie Neilson’s men.
McMullan, who saw an effort across goal come back off the post at 1-0 in the Highlands the week before, said: “I had quite a long time to think about it.
“There were a few lads to my left who would have given me an earful if it hadn’t gone in.
“Thankfully I got it past the keeper. It was an overdue goal for me.
“It was in the same area as the chance that came back off the post in Dingwall – I actually thought I hit the Ross County one better.”
McMullan has become a marked man in the Championship, particularly when he is played through the middle.
And the fact that three Ayr players were booked for bringing him down is a sign of the type of influence he is now having.
“There were a lot of fouls when I was breaking but I’ll take it as a compliment,” said the former Dunfermline man.
“I’m just glad we got the win. It was a good night for us.
“The first half wasn’t great and we lost a poor goal from the second phase of a set-piece.
“We knew we’d create chances though. Thankfully we took two of them.
“Confidence is growing that we can go up. We’ve got a lot of quality in the dressing room.
“It doesn’t matter to us how we do it – if it’s through the play-offs, so be it.”
When Tannadice boss Neilson brought Pavol Safranko and Nicky Clark on from the bench, McMullan was moved out to the right.
As impressive out wide as he was through the middle, McMullan is happy to give his manager options.
“I honestly don’t mind,” he said. “As long as I’m playing, I’m not fussed.
“I’m pretty comfortable in both areas and it’s up to the manager to decide where he thinks I can best help the team.”
With Osman Sow’s return to action, Neilson has even more food for thought.
“We’ve got a lot of good players and it doesn’t really matter what the combination up front is,” said McMullan.
“We think we’ve got enough quality to beat anyone in this league.
“It’s the manager’s call whether he mixes things up. We just need to be ready, whether it’s from the start or off the bench.
“We’ll try to keep churning out results and see where they take us.”