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