Dundee United look like champions already as relentless Tangerines maintain unbeaten start

After 13 games in Scotland’s second tier, Goodwin’s team have all the hallmarks of champions

Nothing is settled in mid-November but Dundee United are taking the Championship by storm. Thirteen matches played – a third of the way through the campaign – and Jim Goodwin’s men are top of the table, undefeated and mean business as they look to bounce back to the Premiership at the first time of asking.

This win, a gritty 2-1 triumph over Dunfermline at East End Park, moves United seven points clear of second-placed Raith Rovers. The Kirkcaldy outfit have two games in hand but they will do well to last the pace. Goodwin has assembled a team more than capable of earning promotion, far stronger than anyone else – as it should be given the extra resource United have.

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Goalkeeper was a huge part of why they collapsed through the Premiership trapdoor last season but Luton loanee Jack Walton looks assured. Their defence is strong and experienced with Declan Gallagher marshalling the troops, while Craig Sibbald looks too good for the rest in midfield. Louis Moult didn’t score here but he leads the line well, and is ably supported by Glenn Middleton, Kai Fotheringham and Tony Watt.

Kai Fotheringham celebrates scoring to make it 1-0 Dundee United away at Dunfermline.Kai Fotheringham celebrates scoring to make it 1-0 Dundee United away at Dunfermline.
Kai Fotheringham celebrates scoring to make it 1-0 Dundee United away at Dunfermline.

But perhaps the best trait on display at East End Park in front of more than 7000 fans was resilience. Leading thanks to Fotheringham’s close-range header on 37 minutes, the Pars came right at them after the break and levelled through Owen Moffat. Unperturbed, United pressed for a winner and it was their young sub Chris Mochrie, who spent last season on loan at Dunfermline, who lashed home with four minutes remaining to spark bedlam in the away end and keep United motoring away at the summit.

"We knew how important tonight's game was going to be,” said Goodwin after the win. “We knew it wasn't going to be straight forward, they're a good side. I’m delighted with the team and the performance. Not accepting the point away from home, pushing right to the end and getting maximum points. The equaliser rattles us a bit, but it's good character from the boys.

“I'm very happy with the squad I have. We worked very hard in the summer, there was a hell of a lot of work to be done. Some of the academy players have been promoted and become really important players. It's important we keep the momentum going. There's no such thing as fatigue. 17 games unbeaten. We looked relatively comfortable. We just need to keep doing what we're doing."