McGeouch: Let's see how United handle pressure as leaders

Dylan McGeouch has claimed the pressure is now on Dundee United after the Tannadice outfit took over from Hibs at the top of the Championship table at the halfway stage of the season.

Thursday, 29th December 2016, 5:30 am
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 2:12 pm
Dylan McGeouch was stunned when Hibs fell behind against Raith. Pic: Ian Georgeson

Ray McKinnon’s players took advantage of the Hibees’ 1-1 draw with Raith Rovers last weekend to open up a two-point lead, coming from behind to beat basement outfit St Mirren to extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to 14 matches.

It’s the first time in more than two months Hibs haven’t been at the top of the pile but now, insisted McGeouch, the United players will be looking over their shoulders in the same way he and his team-mates have in recent weeks. “You have to take your hat off to them,” admitted the Easter Road midfielder. “They are winning games and are doing well, but it could be interesting to see how they handle being top.

“We’ve been top for a while. They’ve been on our tails and we’ve been looking over our shoulders, but now it’s reversed. However, there’s not a lot in it, it’s not as if there’s a big gap. It’s only a game and we have them at home next week when we’ll be looking to put that right.

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“It might add a little difference to them being top and having to keep that consistency. Only time will tell.”

A nine-point gap has opened up between Hibs and third-placed Morton and Falkirk, but McGeouch insisted he doesn’t see the title race as being purely between the Capital club and United.

He said: “Obviously it’s us two at the top, but you can’t write off most teams in the league. We have to worry about ourselves. The squad we have and the ability we have is enough to see us through to the end of the season – we just need to get the performances out. We should be doing better but, if we get it right and put the ball away then we are a very hard team to beat.

“We’ll keep an eye on other teams about us but, if we get it right, it will take a lot to stop us.”

McGeouch conceded, though, that Neil Lennon’s players have to become more clinical in front of goal, pointing to how – not for the first time this season – they’d dominated against Raith only to be hit by a suckerpunch.

He said: “We are frustrated. The size of this club we should be doing better. But it was the best we have played in a while but it did feel like a defeat because we created enough chances to win three or four games.

“We need to be more clinical, get the first goal and see it out.

“We stuck in there, fought to the end and got a point but that wasn’t great. It’s part of football. If we are creating so many chances and they don’t go in, it comes back to bite you.

“Teams always get a chance in a game and they took it.

“We shouldn’t have been behind the way we were playing – I couldn’t believe we were 1-0 down – but I’d be more worried if we weren’t creating the chances. If we weren’t playing well or not creating chances we’d worry big time. But that’s not the case.”

McGeouch admitted, however, that perhaps confidence had dipped slightly in recent weeks, saying: “We have not been as dominant as we have been and we know we can be although we were against Raith. Perhaps that’s to do with confidence in front of goal, but we can’t shy away and make excuses.

“We know the ability in the squad and we should be taking these chances as a team, not just the strikers.

“We know the performances are there – get that bit right and we’ll cause problems.”