There was a time when the past few weeks would have weighed heavily on Mark Birighitti.

As a young keeper, they may just have dragged him down a social media rabbit hole, one where he’d soak up every negative comment, every insult, every laugh at his expense. Even if you weren’t there to witness it, there was no escaping footage of the howler against St Johnstone that prompted Liam Fox to take his goalie out of the firing line a few weeks back.

You know the one: Birighitti hesitates a moment too long with the ball at his feet in the six yard box, just long enough for Stevie May to come clattering through him, claiming ball, man and one of the most bizarre goals you’ll ever see.

His rookie replacement for Fox’s last game, Jack Newman, did not fare too well either in a drubbing at Ross County, and new manager Jim Goodwin has given Birighitti his backing with a return to the starting XI. The 31-year-old from Australia is adamant he won’t be giving up the jersey again in a hurry, nor will he be devoting any energy to fretting about his critics.

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“It’s tough, people vent their frustration and have their opinions but I don’t read that stuff and let it get me down,” said Birighitti. “People have an opinion but it means nothing to me. I have learned to be that way because back in the day I was big on social media and loved reading the comments, what people had to say. 

“But the more mature you get - and I have been around different leagues the last five or ten years - so I know how to handle it. I have been in this position before so I don’t read into it, it doesn’t do anyone good because it’s all negative. 

“Sometimes the fans love you and sometimes they hate you. They can be fickle sometimes but that’s what it’s like. The day after it the best goalkeeper in the world made a mistake, that’s part and parcel of the job. 

“You are going to make mistakes so it’s about how you recover from it. I got my head down, worked hard and I’m in the position now where I need to keep performing to help the team as much as I can. 

“It comes down to mental toughness and resilience. I’m a strong character and a strong person, I don’t listen to outside noise. I have good people around me, I have a coach who backs me. 

“I have a close circle of people I speak to and listen to, people I trust and who know what’s best for me. So I just have to work hard, train hard and put in performances that help the team between now and the end of the season. 

“The manager has come in and he’s backed me. As a player, you always want your backing from the coach and want to repay it by giving 110 per cent every week.

“That’s the aim and I’m willing to fight hard for that position. I am willing to work hard to make sure I don’t lose it ever again.”

Birighitti is not the only senior campaigner to lose his place amid United’s desperate fight to avoid relegation. Captain Ryan Edwards was dropped by Goodwin on Wednesday night as the Tannadice men halted a run of six straight defeats in claiming at Livingston. It likely won’t be the last big selection decision taken before season’s end, and Birighitti believes whoever is on the wrong end has to be big enough to take it.

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“Look, it’s part and parcel of being a footballer when you get dropped,” he said. “Players get dropped from time to time - Ryan Edwards was dropped at Livingston. 

“But he’s old enough and experienced enough to make sure he works hard and gets back in the team because he’s a quality leader and a quality captain. He’s a great guy and we have no doubts he will be back in the team. 

“You can see clearly that the manager isn’t scared to drop players so it’s up to us to perform week in, week out. It’s about having the right attitude, being a good team-mate because when you get dropped there’s no point hiding and being down on yourself. 

“You have to recover from it, stay professional and resilient because it’s football and that’s what happens. You just have to make sure you’re ready to grab the next chance with both hands.”