Furious Fraser Aird has demanded Dundee United stop pleading for precious time to gel – because they should already be in full flight in their quest for promotion.
Aird was having none of it after Saturday’s disastrous opening-day Championship clash which they lost 3-2 at home to rivals Dunfermline despite having taken a first-half lead through Nicky Clark.
Their sorry showing prompted another show of frustration from the increasingly disgruntled home fans who were reminded of last season when United squandered numerous leads in their ultimately futile bid to secure a return to the top-flight via the play-offs. The Tannadice club are now embarking on their third consecutive season in the second tier and failure to gain promotion this time round would surely be unthinkable.
Chairman Mike Martin said last week that manager Csaba Laszlo would be given time to mould his team into a title-winning unit, but this defeat will do nothing to give the fans confidence that he can.
Laszlo fielded eight new summer signings from the start after a mass summer clear-out. However, they fell flat on their faces with goals after the break by Jo Thomson, Jackson Longridge and brother Louis Longridge ensuring a woeful curtain-raiser for the Tangerines who have already been eliminated from the Betfred Cup.
Substitute Aird, who was with Dunfermline last season and hit a late consolation free-kick in the 89th minute, believes the new-look squad have had more than enough time together to get things right. He said: “We’ve used that as an excuse too many times. We’ve been together for almost two months now. At home we need to dominate the game more and take our chances when we get them, and put the game to bed when we go 1-0 up.
“The first game of the season, at home, we wanted to get off to a good start. The boys are obviously disappointed. We know we can play better than that but giving away three goals in the second half just wasn’t good enough.
“I don’t think we played particularly well in the first half, and neither did Dunfermline. But we took a 1-0 lead in at half-time and we were thinking defend well and maybe nick another goal on the counter-attack, or whatever. They were obviously going to come into the game, but to give away three goals in the second half tells its own story.”
Clark’s scrambled opener against his old club temporarily lifted the dark mood around Tannadice on the stroke of half-time, but it all went horribly wrong after the restart.
Aird added: “There’s obviously more pressure on us now after losing our first game. But we can’t do anything about it now, we just need to look at it and train hard again during the week, and prepare for a tough game for us away at Queen of the South next weekend.”