Dundee United new boy Mark Durnan has argued a case for the defence despite the Tangerines losing on opening day.
They were beaten at home by an Aberdeen goal which, thanks to scorer Kenny McLean’s post-match confession, can officially be described as a fluke.
That didn’t mean the 82-minute winner caused Durnan and his Tannadice teammates any less pain, however.
Indeed, it might have been easier to deal with had it been a 35-yard wonder strike from man-of-the-match McLean.
Nevertheless, that it took such a strange goal to breach the home defence should be of some solace after what was otherwise an encouraging afternoon for the United backline.
In particular, the new-look central pairing of Durnan and Coll Donaldson did well on what was their first competitive match together.
Durnan said: “I thought we were solid and it was disappointing to lose a goal like that.
“Coll and I have both just come in and there are other boys fighting for places as well.
“We just need to keep working hard to keep our positions.
“The first half was very equal and there were chances for both sides.
“So it was definitely a sore one to take, with them scoring so late.
“I don’t think Aberdeen had many chances where they tested our goalkeeper Luis (Zwick).
“Our performance was good but it has clearly helped Aberdeen that they have had those European games before the league season has started.
“I thought they might have been a wee bit tired with all their travelling and we could have countered that but it never really happened like that.”
Durnan was satisfied with his own display on his competitive bow for the Tangerines after joining from Queen of the South in the summer.
He was tested by the runs of McLean, Johnny Hayes and Cammy Smith but kept at it, putting in some timely tackles and interceptions.
The big man also nearly scored at the other end in the second period when he headed down a Blair Spittal freekick and the ball had to be clawed away by Dons keeper Danny Ward.
That wasn’t too bad for his first taste of the top flight.
“I thought I did fine,” said Durnan.
“I played in a very competitive league last year with Queens against some good teams.
“I was always confident I could make the step up and I felt very comfortable against Aberdeen.”
It was a rough old debut for keeper Zwick, with the young German being challenged strongly by the Dons for every high ball that came into the United box.
Durnan is backing the promising 21-year-old to cope with the demands of the Scottish game.
He said: “It is physical but Luis knows that and will be working with the coaches to get it right.
“You saw his quality in the last two games against QPR and Watford where he pulled off some great saves.
“He knows it is going to by physical and he will prepare himself for that.”
Former United man Willo Flood admitted that, apart from the goal, the Dons got a stroke of luck when Ward saved from Mario Bilate.
He said: “I am sure teams that come to Tannadice would have lost that game, especially with our keeper making a worldy of a save in the first half.”
The Tangerines are still assessing the extent of Bilate’s hamstring injury after he was substituted at the interval on Sunday.