It was probably during Dundee United’s Scottish Cup triumph over Rangers at Ibrox that Paul Dixon started to catch the eye of the masses.
In that game, the left back played a blinder, setting up Johnny Russell with a terrific cross into the Rangers box.
But that level of performance was nothing new from the 25-year-old Dundonian. Already one of the most consistent – and perhaps overlooked – SPL performers of the past four years, Dixon was in the middle of his best ever season for the Terrors; a season that would ultimately be topped off with his inclusion in the SPFA Team of the Year.
Defensively, Dixon is perhaps no better than many of the other fullbacks playing in the SPL, and he’s probably not the fastest either. What sets him apart from all the other fullbacks in the league is his attacking flair.
With 9 set-ups in the league to his credit, Dixon finished equal top for assists amongst non-Old Firm players in the SPL alongside Inverness winger Johnny Hayes, and was the top assisting defender in the league as well.
It’s not just been about setting up goals for Dixon this season; he’s added the scoring of them to his repertoire too.
While his goals away from home against Dunfermline and Kilmarnock were both good long range efforts, it was his goal against Killie in a 4-0 romp at Tannadice in February that was one to remember. From distance, Dixon absolutely leathered the ball into the back of the net, leaving Cammy Bell with no chance and sending the home fans into raptures.
Perhaps the most telling indication though of Paul Dixon’s form and quality over the course of the 2011/12 season was the one league game he didn’t play in.
United fans went to Tynecastle for a game in mid-February worried that the team wouldn’t be able to function as well without the left back, and yet his replacement for the day – Barry Douglas – put in a Man of the Match performance, setting up a goal into the bargain.
The fact that Dixon managed to keep a player of that quality out of the left back slot for 37 games out of 38 says it all.
With his contract at United expired, Dixon is set to leave Scottish football over the summer; the English Championship his likely destination. So watch him get a Scotland call-up by September…
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