Manager Peter Houston admits he is being forced to rely on youth as the financial realities of life at Dundee United continue to bite hard.
The summer brought an exodus of experience, with the likes of Morgaro Gomis, Prince Buaben and David Goodwillie leaving the club. Although Houston was able to re-invest in the likes of Willo Flood and John Rankin, the squad at Tannadice is looking distinctly threadbare.
United are competing with a youthful squad, and struggling to hit the heights of previous campaigns, with just one league win from their last ten outings.
The Terrors boss cut a frustrated figure at full-time after watching his inexperienced charges fail to break down a determined St Johnstone side, drawing 0-0 at home.
Houston said: “The average age of our side was 22. There is a gulf in experience there. We are having to blood young players, and we’ll just get on with it.”
Despite Houston’s complaints, United’s failure to capitalise on their large amount of possession against St Johnstone owed more to a lack of attacking incisiveness than inexperience.
The home side failed to regularly scythe through a diligent Saints defence, although the lively young Lauri Dalla Valle did flash a couple of headers off target.