Dundee United manager Micky Mellon appreciated the “beauty” of his side’s defending against Aberdeen as he reiterated his newly-promoted team were a work in progress.
Aberdeen dominated throughout at Tannadice but United held firm to secure a goalless draw.
Mellon switched to a more attacking formation during the second half but the Dons continued to push his team back, with some excellent goalkeeping from Benjamin Siegrist and resolute defending keeping the visitors at bay.
United almost snatched an unlikely win when substitute Logan Chalmers was played through on the break but Joe Lewis saved.
Mellon was encouraged by his side’s defending as they completed their first round of Premiership fixtures with 12 points to their name in sixth place.
“To get a clean sheet and something against a really established side at this level, we had to show all the qualities that we showed,” the former Tranmere boss said.
“Of course the Dundee United that we all want to see wants to be better with the football but that’s a continual development job.
“I have done this now as a player and manager eight times, see what happens when you go up a level, and the signs are always the same, you have to gradually build.
“But in terms of desire and defending your 18-yard box, I see the beauty in that as well. Some of the stuff was fantastic and my goalkeeper made some good saves.
“And then we ended up with probably the best chance of the game.
“They know we have got to improve, we have gone up a level, everything is faster, stronger, every team is bigger, the asks are more, we are not dominating games like we did last year. We are now getting it back against teams who are keeping possession against us.
“That’s what you get when you go up a level and they answered those questions fantastically well.
“Is it the end Dundee United I want to see? No, I want to see us passing and getting on it and dominating and that is going to take time.
“But if they keep showing the qualities they showed, it will give us a foothold to build upon.”
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes was disappointed not to take three points and aims to make amends when Hamilton visit Pittodrie in a rearranged game on Tuesday.
“There’s positives, it doesn’t feel like that because we came to win and we haven’t won,” said McInnes, whose team were denied a penalty when Lawrence Shankland handled.
“I’m grateful we have got another game on Tuesday that we can really focus on.
“There were certain things that we asked for from the players and a lot of that was in evidence. The speed of the team, working in the right areas, the intent of the team. So much was there that we asked for.
“But ultimately we are here to win the game and we haven’t won it.
“If we are as good as we are in certain areas of the pitch as we were on Saturday, hopefully it’s a winning performance on Tuesday.”