Duffy’s en­joy­ing chal­lenge of se­nior foot­ball

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - SPORT - BY IAN ROACHE

It has been a steep learn­ing curve for St John­stone de­fender Wal­lace Duffy.

But the former Celtic cen­tre-back is lov­ing life in se­nior foot­ball.

At the heart of the young­ster’s de­ci­sion to swap Celtic Park for McDiarmid Park in the sum­mer was a de­sire to test him­self in the caul­dron of high stakes Premier­ship foot­ball.

That test has been a de­mand­ing one – try­ing to help his new team off the bot­tom of the league while his part of the pitch was be­ing talked about as an area of weak­ness.

Now that he has played his part in se­cur­ing Saints’ backto-back vic­to­ries and a first clean-sheet of the cam­paign, there is hard ev­i­dence the 20-year-old

“This isn’t kids’ foot­ball where re­sults don’t mat­ter”

is get­ting to grips with the re­quire­ments of the job.

“The main thing for me com­ing here was to get ex­pe­ri­ence of a first­team dress­ing room and hope­fully some games as well,” said Duffy.

“I wanted to push to play ev­ery game but I cer­tainly wasn’t ex­pect­ing it.

“I’ve had a few lucky breaks, with Richard Fos­ter leav­ing and Liam Gor­don’s in­juries, which were ob­vi­ously re­ally un­for­tu­nate for him.

“That’s given me my chance.

“I’m en­joy­ing things a lot more on the back of those two wins.

“I’m lov­ing this en­vi­ron­ment – this isn’t kids’ foot­ball where re­sults don’t mat­ter. Re­sults do mat­ter. Th­ese are pres­sure sit­u­a­tions.

“When I left Celtic I didn’t want to fall down the peck­ing or­der and drift down the lower leagues,” he said.

“I jumped at the chance to come here and luck­ily I’ve got my op­por­tu­nity.”

Dundee United’s Paul Wat­son ad­mits it would be a big deal to have won as the fi­nal whis­tle blows at Dens.

The Tan­ger­ines lead the Cham­pi­onship by three points from sec­ond­placed Ayr United go­ing into Fri­day’s derby against Dundee.

Parochial it may be but it is the gap be­tween them and the Dark Blues that is grab­bing the at­ten­tion of most United fans.

Vic­tory would put nine points of clear blue wa­ter be­tween the city sides, while a win for James McPake’s team would cut it to three.

Wat­son ob­vi­ously hopes it’s the former sce­nario as it would be a big ad­van­tage over the neigh­bours.

He said: “We are three points clear at the top of the league go­ing into the derby.

“We are also six ahead of Dundee and have a great chance to open up a big gap.

“It’s a huge game when you look at what is at stake.

“We are also three ahead of Ayr at the mo­ment and seven clear of In­ver­ness.

“That shows you how big a game it could be. Nine points on Dundee would be a big gap for them to make up.”

The United play­ers have an­swered their crit­ics in style af­ter away de­feats to Al­loa and Queen of the South were fol­lowed by wins over Dun­fermline, Partick This­tle and In­ver­ness Ca­ley This­tle.

Wat­son, one of the Tan­ger­ines’ top per­form­ers in the 3-0 tri­umph in the High­lands on Satur­day, is proud of the way United have dug in.

He said: “We did have

Keen: Dundee United de­fender Paul Wat­son

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