Dundee United’s Jamie Robson dreads a third summer of agony

Jamie Robson, the Dundee United defender, can’t face another summer spent thinking about what might have been as they strive frantically to seal a long-awaited return to the Premiership.

Jamie Robson tussles with St Mirrens Kyle McAllister during Thursdays 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Play-Off final at Tannadice. Picture: SNS

The full-back knows better than anyone what it is like to miss out on promotion through the play-offs, having experienced such sorrow against Livingston in the semi-final last season and Hamilton the season before.

Robson, 21, is intent on avoiding that dreaded feeling all over again in tomorrow’s season-defining Premiership final play-off second leg away to Oran Kearney’s St Mirren.

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Robbie Neilson’s side have 90 minutes to secure a place back in Scotland’s top tier following Thursday’s tense 0-0 draw at Tannadice, and memories of previous heartache over the close-season break will serve as added motivation for Robson to ensure there’s no repeat this time.

“The last two years have been really disappointing because it has ended the season on a low,” said Robson. “The goal at this club is to get promoted but the last two seasons we have gone away for the summer knowing it would be the Championship again. It’s hard when you know you haven’t gone up. It does affect you over the summer.

“The club is equipped to go up and I think the team is good enough. It’s just about getting over that final hurdle this time. I feel more positive about it than I did in previous seasons. I think all the players feel like that, as do the fans and the city as a whole.

“I have loads of friends who are United fans and they are desperate for us to get up. When I was a little boy, I was sitting with them in the Shed watching United in the top six and fighting for Europe.

“In our dressing room now there are players who have played in Europe and Scottish Cup finals, bigger games than Sunday. We just can’t get too focused on the occasion. We just have to concentrate on what’s happening on the pitch and try to find a way through it.

“The aim all season has been to get promoted and we are so close now. Once we get back, the goal is to get to the top six but we have to get there first.”

The trip to Paisley will hold no fears for United after winning 1-0 there earlier in the season in the Scottish Cup.

Neilson’s side could have won their first leg tie on the night, but Robson remains convinced they can finish the job off to achieve their burning desire.

“We had plenty of chances so we will go there on Sunday in high spirits,” he said. “Everything is positive. We just want to get down there and get the job done. We have nothing to lose now. We have worked hard to get this chance to get back to the Premiership and we want to take it.

“We went down there in the Scottish Cup and won 1-0, so we know we can go there and get a victory. There is no reason at all we can’t do it again.”

United are anticipating Saints will be more cavalier come tomorrow’s return leg, and have a firm belief they can exploit whatever spaces they might leave at the other end.

“I was surprised St Mirren sat in and I don’t think they will do that again this weekend,” said Robson. “What they do is up to them, though, and if they do open up that means there will be plenty of room for players such as Paul McMullan and Peter Pawlett.

“Paul has been really good lately. He’s been like that for months really.

“The reaction of the fans has been incredible all season. They have turned out in their numbers home and away. I thought they were amazing on Thursday night and I’m sure the away end will be packed on Sunday. They will have the place bouncing.”