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Ian Harkes urges Dundee United to get up to speed quickly in the Premiership

St Mirren v Dundee Utd – Ladbrokes Premiership Play-off – Final – Second Leg – Simple Digital Arena
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Ian Harkes has urged Dundee United to learn the lessons of last week’s missed opportunity if they want to make the grade in the Scottish Premiership.

The Championship winners blew the chance to get their top-flight return off to a winning start when they allowed 10-man St Johnstone to rescue a 1-1 draw.

Tannadice boss Micky Mellon admitted his side have still to get to grips with the increase in quality they will face this term.

And former United States Under-20s midfielder Harkes agrees his team cannot afford to spend too long working out the standards required to survive amongst Scotland’s top teams.

He said: “I thought last week went well. We knew it was going to be a different level in the Premiership but I thought we competed well.

“We wanted to get the three points from the first game, especially once they went down to 10, but I thought we did well – particularly in the first half.

“With each game we’re going to be learning new things that we can improve on.

“That’s already happened from the first match. We’ve looked at the St Johnstone game and identified where we could do better. We know we should have finished it off in the second half.

“But it has to be a quick learning process as we’re going to be coming up against a lot of tough teams quickly.

“The gaffer only came in four weeks ago and while I’m not using this as an excuse, we’re still learning together as a group. He’s giving us new bits of information each week about how he wants us to play. But we have to take this on quick.”

United will be put to the test again on Saturday as they travel to Motherwell.

Stephen Robinson’s side finished third last season but stumbled out the blocks on Monday night as they lost at Ross County.

Harkes said: “Yeah we’d like to play on any negativity that is brewing in their camp but we also know they are a good team.

“We know they will bounce back from Monday and we have to be ready.

“The gaffer wants us to have the mentality that we’re going out to win no matter who we’re up against and I agree. We can’t back down from anyone.”