Squad ef­fort needed for fes­tive push

Evening Telegraph (First Edition) - - Uk World Today - By TOM DUTHIE

DE­FEAT in his first game at Dundee United for Cs­aba Las­zlo was no catas­tro­phe but it was cer­tainly a dis­ap­point­ment.

If Las­zlo leads the Tan­ger­ines to au­to­matic pro­mo­tion to the Pre­mier­ship at the end of the sea­son, by then Satur­day’s sur­pris­ing 2-1 loss to North­ern Irish part-timers Cru­saders will be long for­got­ten.

And in some ways, go­ing out of the Irn-Bru Cup at the quar­ter-fi­nal stage was wel­come. This is a competition the fans at Tan­nadice have vir­tu­ally no in­ter­est in and it had, af­ter all, pretty much served its pur­pose.

For­mer boss Ray McKin­non had used the pre­vi­ous three ties to blood young­sters and give fringe play­ers needed game time. That was a pol­icy Las­zlo con­tin­ued at the week­end.

Last sea­son, of course, United went all the way and lifted the tro­phy but, by the time they came around, in truth the semi-fi­nal and fi­nal vic­to­ries over Queen of the South and St Mir­ren were un­wanted dis­trac­tions.

With the ben­e­fit of hind­sight, McKin­non has al­ways be­lieved those ex­tra games proved strength sap­ping and costly when it came to the post-sea­son pro­mo­tion play-offs.

The dis­rup­tion to the league sched­ule t hey caused were an in­ter­rup­tion that might just have cost his team the sec­ond-place fin­ish that would have seen them with two fewer games to ne­go­ti­ate when the pro­mo­tion chal­lenge reached its cli­max.

This sea­son, with the ex­cep­tion of the Scottish Cup, United can now con­cen­trate on their league cam­paign. It’s un­likely the present gaffer will have too many com­plaints about that.

He also knows when Falkirk visit Tan­nadice on Sun­day for his first league game in charge, he will be se­lect­ing a con­sid­er­ably-stronger line-up than the one sent out at the week­end.

Against Cru­saders, not one of the play­ers who’d started the im­pres­sive wins over Dum­bar­ton and St Mir­ren un­der care­taker boss Lau­rie El­lis were in the XI.

Billy King did come on for the sec­ond half and gave the team an

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