STEVEN FLETCHER came hirpling into the Dundee United press room on Saturday night, causing some mild concern that the one man the Tannadice outfit really cannot afford to be without might be carrying a knock.

“That’s just me every day,” Fletcher, who will soon be 36, explained.

“My kids laugh at me when I get up in the morning. I’m always stiff the morning after a game but we’ve got a break coming up now so I can recover for a couple of days then we have Rangers when we come back.

“I roll myself out every week. But I don’t mind it. It keeps me on my toes.”

Fletcher had scored a beautiful opening goal for United against St Mirren on Saturday and led the line brilliantly for Jim Goodwin’s men throughout. Alas, a Mark O’Hara leveller from the penalty spot denied them a crucial win in their fight to stay in the Premiership.

“It was nice [to score],” he said. “It sat up really nice for me and I just thought: ‘why not?’ “I kind of gambled on the centre back winning the flick on. I had too many headers. No wonder my hair is falling out, honestly.”

READ MORE: Jim Goodwin says Dundee United had points ‘snatched’ away by penalty

He would be forgiven for tearing it out too when he has had a chance to see the penalty award that went against teammate Loick Ayniya, with St Mirren’s Curtis Main throwing himself to the ground under the barest of contact – if indeed, there was any at all – to win the spot-kick.

The decision by referee Craig Napier, and the subsequent advice from VAR HQ in Clydesdale House not to review the decision, could have a huge bearing on United’s fate, but Fletcher was keen to ensure that any blame isn’t directed at Ayinya.

“I’ve not seen the penalty back, but I’ve not heard good things about it,” he said.

“It didn’t look it at the time. I thought it was a bit harsh. When VAR stepped in it was always going to go their way.

“It was disappointing not to get all three points. But a draw was probably a fair result.

“Loick is disappointed. He’s a good, quiet lad and he has his head down. But he was brilliant. He was solid and it was just disappointing the penalty was given against him.

“But the gaffer has watched it back and he said to him: ‘don’t you go home with your head down because you were great’”.

Fletcher has been relegated before in his career, but he can’t square the feeling of being part of those doomed dressing rooms with the one he is currently a major part of.

READ MORE: Steven Fletcher stunner not enough for Dundee United in St Mirren draw

There is no denying the dire situation United find themselves in though, and Fletcher says the players have a keen sense of just what is on the line for the entire club in the coming weeks.

“It affects everyone,” he said.

“It’s not just the players, it’s everyone at the whole club. You don’t want to see that. You want to see everyone keeping their jobs and people having a smile on their face. That’s what we are trying to do just now.

“The Premier League is a tough league and it’s relentless. You see that right now, it’s so tight. At the bottom of that league, anyone could go down.

“I’ve got experience of it, and I know we are not in a great place, but the way our changing room is it doesn’t feel like that. The boys are still upbeat. They are still battling away and I think our performance against St Mirren showed that.

“We nearly nicked it at the end and three points would have been great for us. But we’ve gone two games unbeaten, and we want to keep that going.

“We know we have a hard task against Rangers, but we want to keep going until the end of the season. If we do that, we have got a chance.”

From a St Mirren perspective, the draw was a welcome one in the end after they rectified another poor start to a game, a habit that striker Alex Greive – who will now travel to New Zealand for international duty – says they must break soon to save their top six hopes.

"From the 21st minute onwards we dominated the game and probably deserved a lot more,” Greive said.

"We can't start games like that because it just gives you such an uphill battle.

"I'm not sure why it's happened a few times recently but it's something we can work on.

“We just have to try and sort it out and start games better, because we were doing that earlier in the season."