CRITICISM is harder to hear when it comes from those who are meant to support you the most.
Dundee United can vouch for that; the joy of making off with a point amid the dramatic finale of their last home game tempered slightly by the indignant reaction from fans when Kilmarnock went 2-0 up earlier in the evening.
United will return to Tannadice tonight for the first time since that match, with Motherwell the visitors. The frustration that United supporters vented in that draw with Kilmarnock brought an intemperate reaction from Peter Houston – the United manager said that he had expected his side to be given "a bit more support" from the stands – and Jon Daly has also called on fans to back their side.
There will likely be a sense of optimism tonight given that United were able to win away to Ross County at the weekend and the United striker believes the players will benefit from greater support from their fans.
"It's very easy to start shouting and bawling when your team is 2-0 down," said Daly. "But the real fans are the ones who sing when it's 0-0 and get a bit of atmosphere going and give the place a lift. That's what we need and the fans up in Dingwall were very good at the weekend.
"They can make a big difference on the park and that's the point the gaffer was trying to make when he spoke out after the Kilmarnock. They are important and hopefully they will turn out in numbers for this game."
United have been able to rely on Gary Mackay-Steven to send a buzz through the stands, but the United winger will miss out against Motherwell as he has broken a hand in two places. The player has only just returned to action following a knee operation but is now expected to be sidelined until the New Year.
"Gary will be out for four weeks at best and six at worst," said Houston, who has allowed Gregory Vignal to terminate his short-term contract at Tannadice for family reasons. "Fortunately it's not needing wired. He didn't feel it during the game because his hands were so cold. It was freezing in the dressing-room and then all of a sudden I saw him with a bit of ice on his hand.
"It's not been a good season for him, firstly with the knee injury and now this latest thing but he'll just have to stay positive. It's broken in two places and is quite swollen."
Motherwell may also have to face up to the absence of one of their most prominent wingers, with Jamie Murphy expected to be the subject of interest from Rangers and clubs in England. The Ibrox side are still under a Scottish Football Association registration embargo but would be able to complete a transfer on September 1.
A move could be completed for free as Murphy is out of contract at the end of the season but Stuart McCall, the Motherwell manager, refused to be drawn on where his player would prefer to be should he opt to leave Fir Park.
"A lot of our players will be linked with clubs and Jamie has been in very good form of late and he's a terrific talent," said McCall. "It wouldn't surprise me if Jamie is linked with lots of clubs.
"It's not for me to say [if Murphy would favour a move to Rangers], you would have to ask Jamie. He just gets on with his football.
"His contract is until the end of the season and, if he is leaving, he will want to go out playing his best football. It might not be Rangers – it might be Premiership clubs or Championship clubs in England. Who knows? If it is Rangers, that's one he would have to decide himself."
Murphy is just one of a plethora of players at the club that have attracted interest of late. "If there are going to be players departing at the end of the season, then we want to make this the best season that we possibly can," added McCall.
"There are lots of players we would love to keep but we live in a realistic world. I don't think there is any doubt there will be a part of the squad that will be departing, but it would be nice to keep a few."
The immediate future of one of his players, Darren Randolph, has also posed a cause for concern after appearing to leave his foot in on Callum Paterson in a draw with Hearts at the weekend. McCall hopes the goalkeeper escapes retrospective punishment after the officials opted not to take any action.
"The referee couldn't have been any nearer," said McCall. "He deemed it wasn't anything malicious."