Liam Smith believes that the Dundee United squad’s mentality is what led them to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against Arbroath last Saturday.
United pulled of a late comeback at home to newly promoted Arbroath at the weekend. Smith, who set up the winning goal for Lawrence Shankland in stoppage time, is naturally delighted with the comeback.
“Delighted with the three points,” said the 23-year-old right back.
“It is not always going to be plain sailing, teams are going to come to Tannadice to try to frustrate us a bit, but we know that if we keep plugging away a chance will come.
“And once we got the first one you could see everyone in the crowd got a lift, and we knew we could go on and get the second.
“So, we are delighted with the victory.”
Reversing what looked a certain defeat into a victory so late in a match is one of those characteristics that sets potential champions apart from the rest. That may be a bit of a cliché, but Smith does believe that this squad has the right mentality that will never give up.
“I think it is a big statement,” he said.
“I think maybe teams of the past here, no disrespect to them, may not have come away with three points there.
“I think we have got a mentality in the dressing room that shows that if we keep going right to the end then we can turnover results like that and come away with a victory.”
Lawrence Shankland has now hit double figures in the league with just six games played, and Smith is certain that having Shankland in the team gives the players added belief.
“I think every good team has match-winners that if you feed them then you know they can do something,” he said.
“So, as I said, we knew as a squad that if we keep going to the end we can get a result, but equally we know that if we can put the ball in the right area that nine times out of ten, if it lands at Shanks, then he is going to finish it.
“So, it gives everyone that lift that we know that we can keep going.
“And if we feed him and give him the right service then nine times out of ten, he will deliver.”
Next up at Tannadice is Morton who beat Dundee 1-0 at the weekend. Preparations for that game are underway, and Smith thinks that United, first and foremost, must face up to the physicality of Morton this Saturday.
“It was a great result for them,” he said.
“We’ve not watched them yet, we will watch them later in the week and see how they set up, but I know big John Sutton.
“I played with him and you kind of know what you get when he plays up front.
“They might go direct to him, so we have to deal with the physicality of them and then hopefully put our own style on the game.”
The Tangerines have won five out of six in the league so far this season, and Smith says that, despite the loss to Ayr United, the dressing room is felling happy and confident. Something he hopes is shared by the Dundee United support also.
“I think that the feelgood factor was always there from the start, and the Ayr game was a bit of a dip, but five wins from six.
“If you take out the Ayr result and performance, it has been a great start we’ve made.
“I don’t think you can forget that we are sitting top of the league so the feelgood factor was there in the dressing room, and hopefully amongst the fans as well.”
Ayr United have now lost their manager with Ian McCall returning to Partick Thistle who currently sit bottom of the Scottish Championship table. While ex-Ayr United man Smith thinks it will naturally have some effect on the Ayr United squad, he also believes they will still be competing at the top end of the league come the end of the season.
“I think Ian McCall is great with the players and the squad”, he said.
“It is his squad he has put together so I think it could have an effect on them, but I know all the boys in that dressing room and know that they are professional in the way they work.
“So, I can see them continuing to do well at the top.”
With that being said, Smith is keeping his focus on United staying top of the table.
“We are sitting top just now, so if we keep winning games, we will stay above everyone else.
“That is how we need to look at it and what we need to continue to do.