There’s nothing quite like some sibling rivalry when it comes to spurring each other on. Paul McMullan, just one of Dundee United’s recent arrivals, was able to vouch for that after savouring his first goal for his new club.
McMullan, pictured, lit up proceedings with a curling 59th-minute effort to end League One Raith Rovers’ resistance, before fellow summer signing James Keatings clinched victory with his 72nd-minute penalty in Saturday’s Betfred Group C opener at Tannadice.
The 21-year-old forward signed for Ray McKinnon’s men having spent two years at Celtic before going out on loan most recently to Dunfermline. And the winger has told how his father served to fire him up to produce after issuing him with a timely reminder him about his younger brother Connor’s own exploits.
“It’s probably one of the best I’ve scored,” reflected McMullan. “My dad, Steven, had been giving me a bit of stick because he was telling me my wee brother scored a belter the other week in a friendly for Stirling Albion.
“I was pointing to him in the stand to let him know that I’d matched it! I think I got seven last year and I’ll definitely be looking to better that. I definitely want to add more goals to my game. It’s something the gaffer’s on to me about as well.
“Anytime the ball’s down the other side he wants me to get in the box and get goals. To start with a goal is really pleasing and hopefully there will be plenty more to come.
“The manager wants me to get at defenders – be direct and stretch defences – but that’s my game anyway.
“We’ve had a few friendlies to get to know each other but the competitive stuff is a bit different. It maybe took us a half to get to know each other’s runs and things like that. Once it clicked, you could see the number of chances we created and hopefully that’s a good sign.”
This was an encouraging start for new-look United who introduced former Hibs forward Sam Stanton, who’d signed just hours before kick-off. He won the late spot-kick when ex-Dundee defender Iain Davidson downed him inside the box after McMullan had put Stanton’s new side in the driving seat.
For United, there remains a slight hangover from the disappointment of missing out on a return to the top-flight at the hands of Hamilton in the play-off final at the end of May.
And McMullan insists the Taysiders, whose main focus is on winning promotion back to the Premiership following their play-off agony, are also eyeing some cup success this season.
“We want to win every game and we’ll have the same approach up at Buckie Thistle on Wednesday,” said McMullan. “Hopefully we can qualify from the group.
“The boys are really looking forward to the Dundee game in the group as well. Hopefully we can get the two wins before then and look to top the group.
“Tannadice is a really good place to play your football. I enjoyed coming here when I was an away player.
“It’s a good pitch and a big stadium.”
Meanwhile, recently-installed Raith Rovers manager Barry Smith insists that his side can take heart from their Tannadice display, despite the defeat.
Smith’s task is to lead the Fifers back to the Championship following their relegation under previous boss John Hughes.
“Dundee United are favourites for the Championship so they’re obviously a top team,” stated Smith.
“I can’t fault our lads at all and we’ve just got to move forward now and aim for a good season.”