Ground­hog Day for Dil­lon af­ter an­other lead slips away


SEAN DIL­LON isn’t about to ar­gue with him. Not only is Mixu Paate­lainen his man­ager, but the Dundee United de­fender knows there would be no point pre­tend­ing they are cur­rently any­thing other than mere soft touches in the eyes of the op­po­si­tion.

That’s what the be­lea­guered United boss com­pared his bot­tom-of-the-ta­ble side to in the wake of Satur­day’s dam­ag­ing de­feat to Hamil­ton which left them trail­ing sec­ond-bot­tom Mother­well by seven points, and there is lit­tle doubt teams the length and breadth of the coun­try now be­lieve they are there for the tak­ing such are their de­fi­cien­cies es­pe­cially in de­fence.

United, not for the first time this sea­son, con­trived to blow a valu­able lead as they plunged to an­other loss in the league de­spite Billy McKay giv­ing them a first-half lead be­fore their sec­ond­half col­lapse summed up their sea­son so far

Paate­lainen, whose man­aged just one win since re­plac­ing de­parted boss Jackie McNa­mara back in Oc­to­ber, con­fessed af­ter the game “cri­sis” wasn’t an ex­ag­ger­a­tion in de­scrib­ing their cur­rent do­mes­tic plight which sees them facing an almighty fight to re­tain top-flight sur­vival.

Gavin Gun­ning’s own goal sparked their late down­fall be­fore Ziggy Gor­don’s stylish 79th minute win­ner piled more mis­ery on the Tay­side out­fit.

And de­fender Dil­lon, one of the more ex­pe­ri­enced stal­warts within their ranks, was re­fus­ing to hide from reality in the af­ter­math of this lat­est set­back, by ad­mit­ting Paate­lainen called it right with his frank post-match as­sess­ment which com­pared them to an easy tar­get.

He said: “You can’t ar­gue with him. I am not sure how many times we have only con­ceded one this sea­son.

“When.we have con­ceded one, we have gen­er­ally let in a sec­ond and that has been the case in the last two weeks any­way. That is dis­ap­point­ing but it is just some­thing we need to put right.”

United seemed to be head­ing for only their sec­ond win since Paate­lainen took over at then helm, af­ter McKay’s firsthalf opener had given them hope. Dubliner Dil­lon was left to scratch his head once more as he at­tempted to ex­plain the rea­sons be­hind their on-field malaise which is threat­en­ing their ex­is­tence as a Premier­ship club.

He said: “It is just so frus­trat­ing. You are get­ting the same an­swers out of me all the time at the mo­ment.

“But I think you can see there are im­prove­ments be­ing made the way we played to­day.

“How­ever, we have con­ceded an­other two bad goals. So as much as it is dis­ap­point­ing that we didn’t take our op­por­tu­ni­ties up front, we have let in an­other two poor goals.”

Mean­while, Hamil­ton’s Lu­cas Tagli­api­etra has re­vealed they’ve have set their sights on a win­ning run, now that they’re back in the groove. Martin Can­ning’s men cel­e­brated their first vic­tory in two months and now they’ve savoured that win­ning feel­ing again, Brazil­ian star Tagli­api­etra in­sists they’re looking on­wards and up­wards.

Tagli­api­etra, who helped his side leapfrog Ross County into fifth place, said: “Hope­fully we can go on a win­ning run. That has got to be the aim.

“It’s very tight in the ta­ble. I think we have the qual­ity to keep fight­ing.”

PAATE­LAINEN: Facing fight for sur­vival

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