The spotlight once focused on Andy Robertson and Ryan Gauld.

It has since swept back across the Dundee United stage and identified another young talent ready to emerge from the wings.

Robertson and Gauld were both leading players in the Tannadice club's season last term and earned moves this summer to Hull City and Sporting Lisbon respectively. They left behind a squad which required some tinkering, but would likely have recognised there was enough young talent coming through to ensure that their former team-mates would be able to impress again in the SPFL Premiership.

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Among them was Ryan Dow, a player kept on the fringes until last season when he featured 31 times for United. At 23, he is a contender to assume a prominent role this season and with that the potential for plaudits and applause. His performance on Sunday as he led the way to a tour de force from United in their 3-0 dismantling of Aberdeen, suggested he will cement his place in a team that is full of vigour and substance.

Dow was right to suggest that his side's formation and organisation was good and that the pace which Nadir Ciftci, Gary Mackay-Steven, Stuart Armstrong, as well as himself, brought to their side was notable.

It was Dow's alertness that brought his opener as he punished a poor decision from Ashton Taylor, Aberdeen's new centre-back. "Nadir was pressing their centre half," the midfielder recalled. "I thought he was going to take a chance and play it back to Jamie Langfield [the Aberdeen goalkeeper]. I read it; Langfield has come out and I just put it past him."

With Gavin Gunning departing Tannadice this summer too - the defender joined Birmingham City - Sean Dillon not certain of a starting berth and John Souttar still finding his feet, focus fell on how Callum Morris, Jaroslaw Fojut and Connor Townsend would work as a defensive unit alongside the more experienced Keith Watson.

Dow was complimentary. "Our whole defence was brilliant," he said. "Our two centre-halves won everything in the air. Jaroslaw and Callum have just come in but they played like they have been here for ages.

"They were very solid at the back as were John Rankin and Paul Paton in front of them. The squad is still strong. You are always going to miss players like Andrew, Ryan and Gavin, but the gaffer has brought in good, quality players and we've also got a couple back from loan like Chris Erskine [who scored United's third goal at Pittodrie], who has come back with a new lease of life."

The 23-year-old is eager to welcome Motherwell to Tannadice tomorrow night and equally keen to show that the loss of Robertson and Gauld will not impact adversely on United's progress this season.

"Of course, they are big losses to the team," said Dow. "People can write us off [due to the departure of Robertson and Gauld] but that is a bit of disrespectful to the other boys who were here last year. Ryan and Andy were fantastic, but everybody in the squad did well together. We are looking to continue that."