Tam Courts believes his Dundee United players are hungry for more success.
The Tangerines drew level on points with third-placed Hearts in the Premiership table thanks to Saturday’s narrow 1-0 win over Aberdeen in a fiery encounter at Tannadice.
The home side won thanks to a late Ian Harkes goal but the game was overshadowed by three dismissals.
Home skipper Calum Butcher was sent off just before half-time for a low blow on Dons striker Christian Ramirez with referee Bobby Madden showing a second yellow then red to Aberdeen’s Funso Ojo shortly after in a separate incident involving a home fan.
Dons boss Stephen Glass was also given his marching orders at the interval for protesting about Ojo’s dismissal and watched the rest of the game from the stands.
United and Police Scotland have now opened an investigation into the Ojo incident.
However, Courts’ main focus was on his own players and the fact that they had returned to winning ways after losing their previous two Premiership games to St Johnstone and Hearts before the international break.
The 40-year-old said: “We knew coming into the game, even if we were beaten, the worst we would be is fourth position.
“I think it is testament to how far the club has come on the pitch in a short space of time with this group of players.
“But I think they are keen for more. They understand it’s an important part of the season leading up to Christmas and New Year.
“We have a lot of big fixtures coming up and this is a nice springboard going into Ross County next week.”
Courts admitted he always thought it would be a tight contest against Aberdeen and he was just delighted that when it mattered most, Harkes was on hand to produce a quality finish in the 80th minute with the outside of his right foot past Dons keeper Joe Lewis.
Courts added: “The longer the game went on, I think one goal was always going to win it. Thankfully it came for us through Ian Harkes and there was a bit of quality for the goal as well.
“I think you saw the boys’ spirit, togetherness and their desire to find solutions.
“When we got the goal, this place just erupted because of the energy that was on the pitch.
“So I am pleased for the fans and the players because obviously we’d had back-to-back defeats.
“We wanted to get back to winning ways and that is a big step forward for us.”
Glass vowed to support Ojo but added that the midfielder had been guilty of “a little bit of indiscipline” for going back towards the supporter who had pushed him.
And the Aberdeen manager is more concerned with the football ramifications than seeking action over the incident.
“I am sure Dundee United will deal with the supporter themselves,” he said. “The biggest concern for me is giving the ball away cheaply on the half way line and not defending the corner. What Dundee United do is not for me to comment.”
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1