Benjamin Siegrist insists that if Dundee United can win promotion the hard way through the play-offs, it will be the making of the team.
The big Swiss keeper was singled out for praise from his manager Robbie Neilson this week for the way he has handled being first choice at a big club for the first time.
The 27-year-old admits he is revelling in the role and is also relishing the upcoming play-offs once the remaining two games of the regular season against Falkirk at Tannadice today and Morton next week are out of the way.
The goalie said: “I am enjoying being No.1. I enjoy training with a game to look forward to at the weekend.
“I have been pleased with my performances and it has been good to hear the manager praise me.
“But the goal isn’t personal for anyone here – we all want to make our contribution but the goal is the prize we have at the end of the season.
“I enjoy the big matches and I think as a team we are turning into big-game performers.
“The mentality is getting stronger but right now we are taking it day by day and not looking further than the next matches.
“It’s great to be part of a club who have big aspirations and hopefully I can help achieve them.
“Obviously winning the league was the aim but going up through the play-offs would be brilliant.
“Sometimes it’s better to do things the hard way! Perhaps that would be the making of this team.”
United have drawn with champions elect Ross County and beaten Ayr and Inverness in their last three games and Siegrist believes the Tangerines are gathering momentum at just the right time.
He added: “The last few months have built the character of this team and if we can get through it then it would give us real belief.
“The fans would still be celebrating at the end of the season if we get there.
“The Championship is a crazy league. It’s one of the toughest to get out of because only one goes up automatically.
“This is a challenge but we are cherishing it, the group has come together and there is a fantastic spirit here.
“We are all ready to go for it – we think we are peaking at the right time.
“There might not be anything to gain from the next two games in terms of the league standing but looking at preparation and mental toughness, we have everything to play for.”
This will be the first time Siegrist has been involved in play-offs and while it is largely a step into the unknown for the keeper, one thing he is certain of is the importance of securing second place.
United cemented that position with the win over Inverness last Saturday and it means they now have two fewer games to negotiate.
Siegrist said: “Last weekend’s performance in Inverness was an all-round good one and we feel we are building momentum at the right time.
“We have bigger games coming up after the league matches are finished but we have to keep going because it’s important to go into the play-offs on a run.
“It’s vital, it’s the most important thing because if you have confidence you elevate the levels you are playing at.
“Nobody wants to go into them on the back of poor results so the next two matches are important.”
Siegrist added: “I haven’t experienced the play-offs before but I have looked at them and I know finishing second is massive for recovery and playing fewer games.
“Having four matches instead of six is huge, because six games in that period of time is crazy.
“That’s like the ice hockey or the NBA, where they play back to back so often.
“Falkirk will come out swinging because of their league position and in this league you have to win the battles first.
“After that your quality hopefully comes through and we hope that will be the case this weekend.
“This is our final home game in the league so we want to give the fans a good performance.”