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Jim Goodwin wants his Dundee United players to be inspired by the magnitude of the occasion when relegation rivals Ross County visit a packed Tannadice on Saturday.

A crowd of more than 10,000 is expected for a critical showdown between two sides separated by just a point at the foot of the cinch Premiership.

Adding to the “emotion” of the match will be the fact it falls on the weekend of the 40th anniversary of their only top-flight title win under Jim McLean in 1983.

“We’re all looking forward to a terrific game on Saturday in front of what is expected to be one of the biggest home attendances of the season,” said manager Goodwin.

“I think not only does it illustrate the magnitude of the game but it also illustrates the size of this club and how well-supported it is. That was one of the biggest factors in me wanting to come here, to be a part of a big club with a great history.

“It’s a very important weekend in the calendar, the 40th anniversary of when the old boys won the league so that kind of adds to the emotion of the day from the supporters.

“The players are aware of the significance of that albeit we are fighting for our lives whereas those guys 40 years ago were competing up the top end to go and win championships which is something we could only dream of at this moment in time!

“But it does give you an understanding of what kind of football club you are at.

“For those players, I think it’s a really good message to them to realise they are at one of the biggest clubs in the country that have a great history and probably adds to the importance of the game in terms of why we need to keep this team in the Premiership.”

United looked to have hauled themselves towards safety after a run of three wins in a row took them four points clear of County but their defeat at St Johnstone last weekend allowed Malky Mackay’s Staggies to close the gap to just a point. Kilmarnock are also level on points with United.

“We have to be realistic about the situation,” said Goodwin.

“We know we’re in a relegation dogfight. We know we’re up against some good, competitive teams in Kilmarnock and Ross County.

“There’s nobody here who had assumed Ross County were out of it (before last weekend). We have always tried to keep our feet on the ground and stay level-headed.

“Winning three games on the spin can bring confidence and belief but it was never a case of us thinking we had turned a corner and that we were all of a sudden going to pull ourselves away from the bottom.

“There’s certainly no hangover from last weekend though, the lads are still very much where they need to be psychologically.”