Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara is confident his side can win every time they play after seeing his players come together in recent weeks.
United last weekend came within moments of becoming the first Scottish Premiership team to beat Celtic this season until Charlie Mulgrew cancelled out Stuart Armstrong’s opener. The point followed a 4-0 win over St Mirren in their previous league game and consolidated United’s place in the top six. Now, they are looking to cut a five-point gap on Motherwell when they visit Fir Park to face Stuart McCall’s side.
“Stuart likes to set up his team to attack,” McNamara said. “They get a lot of crosses into the box and they have an aerial threat with (John) Sutton so we have to make sure we stop crosses coming in and do our job properly there. I think Stuart has done a fantastic job there. He has lost players but he has amassed a similar squad again. He seems to do it every year and I have a lot of respect for him.
“We have got ourselves in the top six and this is a chance to get three points closer to them. We feel confident we can win every game, which is good.”
United have forward Nadir Ciftci available after he won his appeal against the red card he received at Inverness and saw a further violent conduct charge dropped, although he still faces a Scottish Football Association hearing over accusations he grabbed a linesman by the throat during a mass brawl.
United lost 2-1 in the Scottish League Cup after conceding in the 120th minute but McNamara believes the way his side responded during the game was evidence of how his players have gelled following a summer of transition.
“I think everybody has started to settle in,” McNamara said.
“The first few weeks you could see we were starting to know each other and now we have a real togetherness about the squad, which I think over the last couple of weeks has made a difference.
“The quarter-final, the way things went against us that night, we all stuck together and were unfortunate not to win the game. But as a team and a squad there was a real togetherness about us.
“We are hopeful we can get some more points on the board in this second quarter, because we feel the first quarter a lot of things didn’t go for us in terms of points and decisions that cost us games.”
Motherwell captain Keith Lasley is also comfortable dealing with greater expectations at Fir Park as McCall’s team continue to challenge in the upper echelons of the Premiership.
Motherwell sit one point off second place as they go into the visit of United looking to claim their sixth home win in seven league games.
McCall’s men have not yet attained the fluency of the team that finished last season in second place but they have not had the same consistency of selection.
And, with 22 points from 12 games played, Motherwell sit six points better off than they were at the same stage last season. Lasley said: “It maybe took us a little bit of time to adjust especially with a big turnaround in players, so that was always going to be a transitional period.
“But if you look at our points tally, we are certainly up there where we were last year, which is credit to the lads and the management.
“We have other teams round about us getting a lot of praise for being up there, the likes of Aberdeen. We are only a point behind them.
“I think some people maybe just expect us to be up there with our exploits in previous years.
“But we are just happy going along quietly and accruing the points that we can and hopefully further down the line we will still be in a decent position to challenge for that second place.”