Tam Courts issues Dundee United a European challenge as Mark McGhee insists ‘we can survive’

Proud Tam Courts watched his Dundee United side claim their place in the Premiership top six and then challenged them to go and cap it all off by sealing a European place.

The United head coach was disappointed his team had to settle for a point in the final derby of the season after throwing a two-goal lead.

While Mark McGhee reckons their derby fight-back shows his Dundee players believe they can survive and know how important scoring goals again will be to their fate come May.

United went ahead through Nicky Clark and Charlie Mulgrew but goals from Danny Mullen and Charlie Adam ensured the Dens Park club a share of the spoils.

That, however, was numbered by the fact it was enough to guarantee Courts’ side a first top half appearance since 2016.

DUNDEE, SCOTLAND – APRIL 09: Dundee United’s Charlie Mulgrew celebrates making it 2-0 during a cinch Premiership match between Dundee United and Dundee at Tannadice, on April 09, 2022, in Dundee, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group)

United currently sit in fourth and Courts wants his team to try and remain their and book a European return.

Courts said: “When you split your thinking, we have to be proud and pleased and it has been a tough campaign with so many teams fighting for the same thing.

“We’ve had to endure so many injuries and challenges and it is a big moment for the football club now that we are in the top six and it is only right, now that we are holding fourth position that we chase that down and get European soccer.

“We came in knowing it was very difficult for us to miss out on the top six and that allowed us to concentrate on the game.

“We were 2-0 up and expecting to press home that advantage but it was disappointing.

“When the dust settles it is still a great achievement to make the top six and to be sitting in fourth.”

United still managed to extend their unbeaten run in the derby but Courts know it should have been another win.

Courts added: “This moment in time there is frustration to get 2-0 up, with the experience, quality and know-how we have.

“I fully expected us to add a third and fourth but whatever reason it wasn’t just the defensive line, the team retreated and thought it was job done.

“That always gives the opposition, especially in a derby, to get in the game.

“We saw the game change quite quickly. The pleasing thing was we regrouped after that. We had two of the best chances after that but I am still bitterly disappointed at this stage.”

McGhee on the other hand was left feeling delighted at the character his players showed to fight back as they look to avoid a drop down to the Championship.

“There is a belief we can survive,” McGhee stated.

“Unless you have that you don’t get back into games like we did today.

“I think there is a spirit and a belief about them that one of these days they will win a football match.

“We didn’t feel sorry for ourselves when we went two goals down, we got back up again and fought our way back into the game.

“We are scoring goals again, that’s four in the last two games, and that’s massively important.

“Before there were games we thought we had to score first and when we didn’t you worried about how we would score.

“But now we have shown we’re capable of coming back, the belief is there and we feel we can get goals.”

It is two draws on the bounce for Dundee and McGhee knows the bottom six shootout with St Johnstone will be massive.

McGhee admitted: “I am pleased with the point, six points is more than two games we have to make a difference in but five points is two games.

“We know we have to beat St Johnstone when we play them and win one more game than them, but it is only one more game and before today it was more than that.

“So it could be a really valuable point and means we go into the break before the split knowing we are in good shape.

“We can take heart from that and we will come out fighting in the next five games.”


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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