Utd grab Livi win gives Cs­aba’s Tan­ger­ines a lift go­ing into cru­cial post-sea­son

PLAYERRATINGS

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

AT this stage of a foot­ball sea­son it is what you do, not the way that you do it that mat­ters.

With that in mind it’s prob­a­bly bet­ter not to be over an­a­lyt­i­cal of Dundee United’s per­for­mance as they com­pleted their reg­u­lar sea­son with a 2-0 Tan­nadice win over Cham­pi­onship run­ners-up Liv­ingston.

What counted was the vic­tory gave the Tan­ger­ines some­thing of a lift go­ing into the pro­mo­tion play-offs that kick off against Dun­fermline at East End Park to­mor­row night.

It means Cs­aba Las­zlo’s men will en­joy home ad­van­tage in the sec­ond leg of that quar­ter-fi­nal on Fri­day night.

Sure the tie prom­ises to be so close that which side is at home then is prob­a­bly not go­ing to mat­ter too much.

But it was the main prize the two sides were joust­ing for at the week­end, though the Pars also had to make sure they edged out In­ver­ness to even make the play-offs.

And when any prize is up for grabs, it’s bet­ter to win it than lose out.

That be­ing the case, United had rea­son to feel good about them­selves af­ter sec­ond-half strikes from Craig Slater and Scott McDon­ald se­cured the points against Livi.

An added bonus had to be the fact the win­ners of this week’s show­down will face David Hop­kin’s side at the semi-fi­nal stage next week, so beat­ing them had psy­cho­log­i­cal ben­e­fits.

Hav­ing suf­fered two painful de­feats at the Tony Mac­a­roni Arena this term, com­plet­ing a home dou­ble over Livi had to be a good thing.

That said, it’s not an achieve­ment any­one wear­ing tan­ger­ine should be get­ting too car­ried away by.

First off, for the next few days they have to be fo­cused on Dun­fermline and noth­ing else.

Once, hope­fully, that busi­ness has been taken care of, United would do well to re­mem­ber that Satur­day’s op­po­nents eas­ily put in enough over the 90 min­utes to sug­gest they will be very tough to beat.

Go­ing into this one they had noth­ing at stake, hav­ing se­cured sec­ond spot the pre­vi­ous week.

Rather than have an af­ter­noon off, though, they turned in a ro­bust dis­play that gave United prob­lems.

They were the bet­ter side in the first half and, but for an ex­cel­lent Deniz Mehmet save to deny Tan­nadice old boy Lee Miller, would have been ahead at the break.

Af­ter it, the pro­ceed­ings were more even, but Hop­kin could rightly point to head­ers from Miller and sub Jackson Lon­gridge that should both have ended up in the back of the net.

His side will also be re­freshed af­ter nine days with­out a game by the time they face their first play-off ac­tion. And with some­thing to play for, it can be taken as read the team that’s been this sea­son’s sur­prise pack­age of the Cham­pi­onship will fancy their chances.

Even if Satur­day was by no means the per­fect per­for­mance, United do have fur­ther rea­son for op­ti­mism.

Scott Fraser got an­other pro­longed run out and is surely fit enough to be con­sid­ered for a reg­u­lar start­ing place.

And while he’s been un­der-used dur­ing his loan from Colch­ester, Slater showed that if called upon in the next few weeks, he is ca­pa­ble of do­ing a job.

Just as sig­nif­i­cant, was a rest for highly-in­flu­en­tial skip­per Willo Flood.

He’s a big player for United and from to­mor­row all such per­form­ers will be needed.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.