Having spent two years in the City of Discovery, Dunfermline centre-back Callum Morris is no stranger to the demands of the Dundee United support. However, even he was taken aback by the subdued nature of the Tannadice crowd during Saturday’s 1-1 draw in the Ladbrokes Championship.
Csaba Laszlo’s men have been on a dreadful run of late, one they were unable to end on Saturday when a 53rd-minute goal by Nicky Clark gave them another mountain to climb.
They were able to earn a quick, if fortunate, equaliser when James Craigen’s attempted clearance cannoned off Scott McDonald and rebounded straight into the back of the net. But, despite some pressure thereafter, they couldn’t find that elusive home win.
The visit of lowly Brechin City right after the turn of the year represents the last time United have managed to earn full points on their own turf and it showed in the support. It’s not just the team who are severely lacking in confidence at the moment.
“It is strange, actually,” admitted Morris, who played for the Tangerines between 2014 and 2016.
“Obviously it’s been a dark time what with them being relegated, but I was used to playing here in front of six, seven, eight-thousand people here every game and playing derbies. I know it’s a different league and you’ve not got the big games but it is strange. You could hear our fans over the United fans, but that’s just how it is. That’s the situation they are in.”
Due to the immediacy of the equaliser – McDonald’s goal coming just two minutes after the opener – there wasn’t enough time for the home fans to become frustrated and let their emotions boil over. Instead, they were able to get behind their side as United enjoyed their brightest period of the match, with McDonald twice going close to putting them in front, while Sam Stanton saw an effort slither just wide of the far post.
Though they couldn’t sustain their momentum and had to wait until the closing stages to muster a couple of further half-chances, their efforts in fighting back at least saw a sizable portion of the home faithful stay behind to applaud their efforts.
“It’s a nice feeling,” said goalkeeper Harry Lewis of the reaction at the end. “It must be tough supporting Dundee United.
“We haven’t already played the way we should do and make the fans happy.
“I don’t think they realise how much of a difference it does make when they’re chanting and clapping and all that stuff. Especially for me, this is my first season playing every week, the fans do have a big impact.
“You can feel the anxiety in the crowd, but at the same time you can feel it when the fans push you on. It’s full credit to them that they’ve stuck by us in recent times.”
There will likely be few fans in attendance rooting for the embattled promotion hopefuls when they travel to Inverness Caley Thistle tomorrow evening, although Lewis believes that might be a blessing in disguise as they look to pick up the kind of victory which will kick-start their ailing campaign.
“When we play here the pressure is all on us. At Tannadice we should win every single game and we’ve not been doing that lately,” added Lewis.
“It’ll be nice to get away and go play somewhere else where the pressure is maybe on the home team.
“We welcome every game the same but we recognise the importance of getting a result on Tuesday.”