Narey’s prayer is an­swered by the United cen­tu­rion

Scottish Daily Mail - - The Verdict - EUAN McARTHUR re­ports from Tan­nadice

PAUL Mc­MUL­LAN savoured a mag­i­cal 100th ap­pear­ance for Cham­pi­onship lead­ers Dundee United after club leg­end Dave Narey chal­lenged him to mark the oc­ca­sion with a goal.

The 23-year-old winger duly obliged with the opener in a com­pre­hen­sive vic­tory over Queen of the South which moved Rob­bie Neil­son’s men nine points ahead of sec­ond-placed Ayr United and 12 clear of city ri­vals Dundee.

Mc­Mul­lan had been pre­sented with a com­mem­o­ra­tive jersey by Narey prior to kick-off and later re­vealed that the 63-year-old for­mer Tan­nadice and Scot­land de­fender had urged him to make the day truly spe­cial by hit­ting the tar­get for the ti­tle chasers.

‘It ab­so­lutely was spe­cial,’ said Mc­Mul­lan, who scored mid­way through the first half with a classy fin­ish from out­side the box.

‘It was a nice touch from the club to give me the jersey and to get it pre­sented to me by a leg­end like David Narey was re­ally good.

‘To top it off with a goal was great. He ac­tu­ally asked me for a goal.

‘I did my best to de­liver that for him and hope­fully he en­joyed the game. It was cer­tainly nice to meet him.’

Mc­Mul­lan, who joined Dundee United from Celtic in the sum­mer of 2017 fol­low­ing loan spells with Sten­house­muir, St Mir­ren, Mor­ton and Dun­fermline, is cur­rently play­ing a key role in the club’s bid to re­turn to the top flight.

‘I had seen in the match pro­gramme a cou­ple of weeks ago that I was get­ting close (to 100 ap­pear­ances),’ he said. ‘I didn’t re­alise un­til I had seen some­thing on­line that I had made it. It’s a nice achieve­ment.

‘It doesn’t seem like it has taken me a long time to get there, to be hon­est. I feel as if the time has gone in quite quickly be­cause it has only been two-and-a-bit years for me here.

‘But that’s a lot of games I have played and, hope­fully, there are a lot more to come for me.’

Striker Nicky Clark dou­bled United’s ad­van­tage just prior to half-time before mid­fielder Sam Stan­ton struck early in the sec­ond pe­riod.

The vic­tory was made all the more im­pres­sive as United were with­out star striker Lawrence Shank­land, who was in Cyprus with Scot­land on Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship qual­i­fy­ing duty. Mc­Mul­lan says it showed that Neil­son’s men can cope with­out their tal­is­manic for­ward, who has al­ready scored 19 goals for the club this sea­son.

‘Lawrence is our No9, so when you cre­ate the num­ber of chances we do, it is nat­u­ral that he is the one who is scor­ing most of the goals,’ said Mc­Mul­lan.

‘What this re­sult shows, though, is that we can get goals from other ar­eas of the pitch, which is al­ways nice.

‘For my goal, I had a lot of time to think about it be­cause Louis Ap­pere had two or three touches before he laid the ball back to me.

‘My shot ended up ex­actly where I hoped it was go­ing to go, so I was re­ally pleased with the fin­ish.

‘It’s also so im­por­tant get­ting th­ese clean sheets be­cause that’s what re­sults are built on.

‘The guys at the back have been bril­liant and long may that con­tinue as well.’

United boss Neil­son said: ‘We’ve now got a two-week break before we play Mor­ton at Cap­pielow, but it’s im­por­tant we keep our fo­cus.

‘If we can keep winning, then we will be where we want to be come the end of the sea­son.’

Queens boss Al­lan John­ston was far less sat­is­fied than his Tan­nadice coun­ter­part.

‘We are re­ally frus­trated with the slop­pi­ness of the goals we con­ceded,’ said John­ston.

‘When you’re play­ing the best team in the league, then you have got to take your chances. But we failed to do that.

‘It’s go­ing to be tough for any­one to stop United now.

‘You would imag­ine that Dundee will be up there but, at this mo­ment in time, it looks as though it will be dif­fi­cult for any­one else.’

Loud and proud: Mc­Mul­lan struck United’s open­ing goal Cen­tury boy: United leg­end Narey pre­sented Mc­Mul­lan with a com­mem­o­ra­tive shirt to mark his 100th ap­pear­ance

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