Dundee Utd V Hearts at Tannadice Park : Match Preview

08 February 2013 07:01
Dundee Utd V Hearts - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

McNamara all set for beating Hearts

Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara has urged his players to build on their Scottish Cup victory over Rangers when they host Hearts at Tannadice in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

The new Tangerines boss got off to a winning start as United swept past the Ibrox club 3-0 in his first game in the dugout since replacing departed manager Peter Houston.

It was a win which gave McNamara great satisfaction as they look ahead to a cup quarter-final tie with Dundee but for now he wants to see them follow that up with another positive result against the Jambos in the SPL.

McNamara said: "It's been a good start and it gives us something to build on going into this game with Hearts.

"The lads have all responded well since I came in last week and it's been good to have a full week working closer with them in training each day.

"This will be a very tough match against Hearts but it's one we should be approaching with confidence.

"There were a lot of positives things to come out of the Rangers game which we want to use to our advantage.

"We want to try and move up the table as well so it will be very important to start winning more games at Tannadice in front of our own supporters."

United face a Hearts side which has been buoyed by recently making it through to the final of the League Cup.

McNamara is under no illusions about how tough John McGlynn's side could make it for them this weekend so knows they must be fully prepared.

He said: "I've got a lot of respect for Hearts and what they're trying to do with the younger players at their club.

"They've proved they're a good team by going all the way to the final and you never get it easy against them.

"They have lots of talented young players who've been given a first-team opportunity this season and have taken it well.

"So we are facing a tough task but it's one which we are all looking forward to.

United are hoping full-back Keith Watson shakes off some tightness in his knee to face the Edinburgh club.

Midfielder Stuart Armstrong is back from Scotland Under-21 international duty in Greece in midweek and appears to have suffered no ill-reaction.

Meanwhile, teenager Jason Holt was always confident he could break into the Hearts first team when the man who spotted him as a nine-year-old was appointed as manager last summer.

The 19-year-old midfielder has become a regular in recent weeks as McGlynn continues to increase the contingent of academy graduates in the first team.

Then a Tynecastle coach, McGlynn was the man who tipped the Hearts youth department off about Holt when he was playing for Musselburgh Windsor boys' club and later gave him his first start in senior football during a loan spell at Raith Rovers.

McGlynn's faith in youth paid off in style when a starting XI featuring seven players aged 21 and under took Hearts into the Scottish Communities League Cup final, and - ahead of Saturday's clash - they are unbeaten in three games.

Recalling his first encounter with McGlynn, Holt said: "I was about eight and playing for my local team. Then Hearts came in when I was about nine and just took it from there, went into the academy here and that was it.

"It's been brilliant. Any boy growing up, if they were asked if they wanted to play for the team they supported, they would jump at it, so I'm really grateful for the opportunity.

"When he was appointed, all of us knew that we would get a chance at some point. It was just a case of working hard.

"He said before if we were doing well we would get a chance and he has proved that with the amount of youngsters in the team."

McGlynn revealed Holt's natural talent was obvious a decade ago.

"He is technically a very good player," McGlynn said. "I first saw him when he was playing for Musselburgh Windsor and we managed to get him to Hearts.

"You could see the potential that morning. He was sticking out a million miles, you could just see he was a good football player.

"He could take the ball and move the ball very quickly. He had an awareness that was beyond his years.

"In the style of play we are playing Jason Holt will be a revelation. We are playing some good football and he is thriving."

Source: PA

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