Centurion McMullan looks to the future after marking milestone with goal
PAUL McMULLAN savoured a memorable milestone for Dundee United before telling how club legend Dave Narey challenged him to assume the limelight.
McMullan proved his worth once more with the opening goal in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Queen of the South which moved Robbie Neilson’s men 12 points ahead of second-top Ayr United and nine clear of city rivals Dundee in their quest for the title.
The 23-year-old winger marked his 100th appearance for the club by being presented with a commemorative jersey by former Tangerines defender Narey before kick-off, and things got even better when he opened the scoring midway through the first half thanks to his classy finish from outside the box.
Nicky Clark then doubled their advantage just prior to half-time, and Sam Stanton struck early in the second half to seal the win.
And McMullan, who joined the Tayside club from Celtic in the summer of 2017, told how former United defender Narey urged him to make his day truly special by ensuring he hit the target for the relentless Championship leaders.
“It absolutely was special,” said McMullan.
“It was a nice touch from the club to give me the jersey and to get it presented by a legend like David Narey was really good.
“To top it off with a goal was great. He asked me for a goal.
“I did my best to deliver that for him and hopefully he enjoyed the game. It was certainly nice to meet him.
“I had seen in the match programme a couple of weeks ago that I was getting close [to 100].
“I didn’t realise until I had seen something online that I had made it. “It is a nice achievement.
“It doesn’t seem like it has taken a long time, to be honest. It has gone in quite quickly because it has only been two-and-a bit years.
“That’s a lot of games and hopefully there are a lot more to come for me.”
United are looking a strong bet to proceed towards the title with this being their fifth straight league win and clean sheet.
But McMullan was keen to play down such talk as they bid to secure a long-awaited return to the Premiership, with the Tayside club having failed in each of the the previous three campaigns to secure promotion back to the top flight.
He added: “I thought, as a team, we played really well.
“I had another couple of chances so could maybe have had another couple of goals but I am just happy that we got the three points.
“It is good and next time we play we will try to get even more of a gap.
“We are just trying to get as many wins and cleans sheets and see where it takes us.
“With the teams closest to us not playing we knew that it was a good chance to open up the gap at the top.
“Thankfully, we did that.” This was made all the more impressive as the hosts were without striker Lawrence Shankland, who was in Cyprus with Scotland on Euro 2020 Championship qualifying duty.
McMullan believed Neilson’s men proved they can cope without their talisman forward, who has already banged in 19 goals in all competitions this season.
He said: “I have said before that Lawrence is our number nine so when you create the number of chances we do, it is natural that he is the one who is scoring most of the goals.
“What this result shows is that we can get goals from other areas of the pitch, which is always nice.
“For my own goal, I had a lot of time to think about it because Louis Appere had two or three touches before he laid it back to me.
“My shot ended up exactly where I hoped it was going so I was pleased with the finish.
“It’s so important getting these clean sheets because that’s what results are built on.
“The guys at the back have been brilliant and long may that continue.”
Dundee United winger Paul McMullan marked his 100th appearance for the club with a goal