Micky Mellon believes Sunday’s daunting trip to Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers will provide an accurate assessment of Dundee United’s progress.
The Terrors suffered a 4-0 thrashing at Ibrox in September in their seventh fixture since promotion from the Championship.
With just four games to play before the league splits, United are in contention for a top-six spot following consecutive wins over Ross County and Livingston.
Asked how much his team has improved since the early-season hammering at the hands of Steven Gerrard’s side, Mellon replied: “I always decide with my eyes, so I will be able to tell you that on Sunday when I watch the game.
“We’re all guessing and we all say this and that, but I always believe in proof.
“We think we’ve improved, we think we’re getting better all the time but Sunday will give us the opportunity to go and see that, so let’s see where we are up to as a group.”
Unbeaten Rangers have won each of their 15 home league games, conceding only once, and hold a 15-point advantage over Old Firm rivals Celtic.
While Mellon is full of admiration for the work Gerrard has done in the blue half of Glasgow, his focus is on making his own team more formidable.
“We want to put a dent on Rangers,” he said.
“Rangers have been relentless and that takes a special type of player and special type of manager to keep his group in that mindset week after week.
“I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve won leagues – not at the level Rangers are operating at – but I understand what it takes to do that, so credit to them for that.
“But we’re Dundee United and I am trying to get Dundee United to a level where everybody can expect that they are going to get a right tough game against us for 90 minutes, and Rangers is the next chance that we get to go and do that.”
Dundee United will be without midfielders Peter Pawlett and Dillon Powers at Ibrox due to suspension and a head injury respectively.