Nicky Clark looked around Tannadice and realised why Dundee United feel they are fit for the Premiership.
Like every other player who has joined the club since they were relegated in 2016, Clark has been told how the Tangerines need to be back where they belong – in Scotland’s top division.
United are now just two games away from a return to the top flight, with St Mirren to be faced in the two-legged final on Thursday and Sunday.
As he emerged from the tunnel to see 8,540 people packed into the stadium for the play-off semi-final second leg against Inverness Caley Thistle on Friday night, it really sunk in that the top flight and the Tangerines would be a good fit.
Clark then experienced the natural high of hearing the roar from the stands when he opened the scoring from the penalty spot in first-half stoppage time.
The home fans were on their feet a further twice when first Osman Sow then Pavol Safranko fired home to make it 3-0 on the night and 4-0 on aggregate.
The size of the attendance showed how they are the big fish in the Championship pond and are desperate to leave.
Clark said: “The fans were absolutely brilliant.
“That was the best atmosphere at Tannadice since I arrived at the club.
“It showed the size of United’s support and the team we have here is good enough to go and play in the top league.
“The fans were great for the whole 90 minutes and we are hoping they will back us again like that on Thursday.
“The manager came in after the game and said there was already a queue of hundreds of people out there buying tickets for Thursday.
“That shows what it means to them and hopefully we can get the club back into the Premiership where we feel we belong.
“We will prepare right and be ready to go again.”
Clark had been struggling with injury – the result of a clash with teammate Paul McMullan – but was still able to slot away the spotkick and play on until he was replaced by Sam Stanton on 78 minutes.
The former Dunfermline and Rangers frontman said: “My whole side was sore and I was close to coming off.
“I managed to jog it off with a bit of running about and half-time probably came at a good time for me.
“I still feel it just now but I will be OK for the final.
“We knew what we needed to get over the line but we got the clean sheet and the three goals as well so it was great.
“The boys were all saying it was a penalty.
“I felt confident and I take them a lot in training so I was delighted to see it hit the back of the net.
“In the second half we played well and that gave us a bit of breathing space.
“Now we can rest and then look forward to the final.”
Clark could have had a hat-trick were it not for shots striking either post as United stormed forward in that second period.
He said: “The first one was an unbelievable save from (Inverness keeper) Mark Ridgers, who pushed it on to the post.
“I don’t know what happened with the other one.
“I looked to see if I could take a little touch but I never had enough time and I lost a little concentration and got it all wrong.
“Fortunately, it didn’t matter!”
It could be a brilliant week for the Clark family after Nicky’s father Sandy helped Queen of the South stay in the Championship by beating Raith Rovers on Saturday in his role as assistant to manager Allan Johnston.
Clark junior said: “They got the job done and hopefully we can get our job done as well over the next two games.
“It would make it a good few days for us if both Queens stay up and United go up.”