There is at least one person who didn’t think Henri Anier was the forgotten man at Dundee United.
It was, of course, the man himself.
Anier returned from the wilderness in the Highlands on Saturday when he produced two goals and a man-of-the-match display as the Tangerines beat Ross County 3-2 to reach the semi-finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup.
It was a remarkable turnaround in fortune for a striker whose previous start for United had been in a Dundee derby on April 8 and who was so far out of the picture that he had been sent out on loan to Hibs before returning in January.
The Estonian international’s performance last weekend came as a pleasant surprise to many fans but the striker himself always knew he had it in him.
“It was my first start for a long time and I really enjoyed it,” said Anier, who equalised twice for 10-man United in Dingwall before Billy Mckay headed home the 89-minute winner.
“I had been feeling ready to play, had been training hard and felt I deserved it.
“I always felt I could come back to United and make an impact.
“Even at Hibs, when I got my chance I did well.
“It wasn’t a good feeling to be away when United weren’t winning. I always hoped they would win.
“I came back here and spoke with Mixu and told him I was delighted to come back.
“I know what I can do and I know I can help the team.
“It was great that the manager believed in me and started me against Ross County.
“I do my best in every game and hope I can get something extra like the goals.
“It was a great day and I was really happy for the club.”
United hope to successfully fight on two fronts in cup and league and next up for them is tonight’s Premiership match against Motherwell at Fir Park.
They remain in a perilous position at the foot of the table, eight points behind second-bottom side Kilmarnock with a game in hand.
The Rugby Park men face a daunting trip to take on title-chasing Aberdeen tomorrow so victory tonight in Lanarkshire may well see the Tangerines finish the weekend five adrift.
However, anyone who watched their dire display against Well at Tannadice they were hammered 3-0 – last month knows it will be very difficult to get anything off the Steelmen.
That loss, of course, was followed by a blast at the players from chairman Stephen Thompson but Anier denied the squad have been driven by a desire to prove him wrong.
“I don’t know these things, to be honest,” said the former Motherwell man.
“These things are between chairman and manager.
“We have only been working hard as a group of players.
“We knew ourselves that that wasn’t a great game and we needed to go and do better.
“But, you know, that was just the one statement.
“The chairman is the main man at the club and he decides what he wants to say and we as players just need to work hard.
“The players and staff had meetings and we knew we needed to aim to get out of the relegation zone.
“We knew it wasn’t good everybody knew that.
“It is definitely a good thing (to prove someone wrong).
“When something doesn’t go so well so need to then show that the opposite is possible.
“We went out the next game against Hearts and did better.
“We are, at the moment, last in the league but there are plenty of games to go and we know we can do it.
“We knew we have been in the last position for too long and need to climb out of it.
“We are looking forward to the Motherwell game and we want those three points.
“If we do that then we will be putting the teams above us under pressure.
“We are a bit behind them so we need to try to win every game.
“They may feel pressure but I think it’s all about us.”