It was not that long ago visiting the tangerine half of Dundee would have meant certain defeat. We have now improved on that considerably in more recent years but despite a hugely convincing 3-1 win there earlier in the campaign we are up against it now. United – though they have also lost their last two league games – are a much better team now while we have suffered a dip in form.
Diagnosing exactly what has gone wrong with our team is not proving simple. Stuart McCall tweaked the 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 in the last outing yet we were just as ineffective. The optimistic view is that too many players have gone off the boil simultaneously and we lack the squad depth needed to rotate them. Sooner or later they'll click again and things will be okay. The pessimistic view is that we overperformed massively earlier in the campaign and now our true level of ability is being shown. Rather than pushing for Europe, just clinging on to our top six spot should be our goal.
Which of these views is correct will take some time to discover. More likely we are somewhere in the middle of the two but we still have an anxious wait to turn things round. If Hearts keep their squad together, and playing well, we are unlikely to keep pace but there is no reason to think we cannot maintain an advantage over St Johnstone and the likes.
We'll be boosted by the return of Jennings, assuming his 70 odd minutes in the closed door game against Fleetwood caused no damage. With the midfield restored to full strength it is to be hoped that some confidence flows to the rest of the team.
To come out of the dip will require us to start putting points on the table quickly and a positive result at Tannadice would be ideal. United are missing the injured Severin but with everyone else available they will surely be chasing the victory. Hopefully we can lift our game again though and if we return home with a 1-1 draw we will probably be quite content.
Remember our last trip to United?