Dundee United boss Peter Houston last night claimed his SPL side are underdogs going into tonight’s Scottish Communities League Cup clash with high-flying Queen of the South.
The Tangerines boss takes his side to Dumfries to face the rampant Second Division league leaders who are undefeated this season and bidding to claim United’s scalp to take their place in the quarter-finals.
Allan Johnston’s part-timers sent Hibs out in the last round and caused a further shock last week by beating Rangers in the Ramsdens Cup at Ibrox.
Now Houston, whose side’s sorry 3-0 defeat by Hearts at the weekend means they haven’t won since their Dundee derby victory in August, fears his side could be victims of the Palmerston shock troops.
Houston said: “Queens are a confident team who are beating everybody but that’s a good thing from our point of view.
“They’re doing so well and we were poor on Saturday so we might well now be going in as underdogs. People might think that’s where the shock is going to be. So that should be the motivation to our players.
“They knocked Hibs out and beat Rangers in a cup-tie last week, so let’s see if our boys stand up to the challenge.
“We’re going down to Dumfries early on Tuesday into a hotel so the players can get a sleep in the afternoon which shows how seriously we’re taking it.
“We’ve done video analysis of recent Queen of the South games to give the players an idea of what they’ll be playing against.
“We need a reaction from Saturday which hopefully we’ll get but we have to win the battle first before we win the war.”
Houston labelled his side’s performance “soft” in the wake of their disappointing defeat to the Jambos but now admits he must take some share of the blame for sending out the wrong team.
He said: “I should have brought in more experience but we must get it out of our system and playing Queens gives us a quick chance to do that.”
Meanwhile, Gregory Vignal won’t make his Arabs debut just yet as he continues to work on his fitness after his recent switch to Tannadice.