Dundee Utd V Partick at Tannadice Park : Match Preview

22 November 2013 07:01
Dundee Utd V Partick - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

McNamara in a bullish mood

Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara insists his side have every right to approach Saturday's Scottish Premiership match with Partick Thistle confident of maintaining their recent run of fine form.

The Tangerines have beaten both St Mirren and Motherwell 4-0 in recent weeks as well as drawing away to champions Celtic.

Now McNamara's men are relishing the visit of the Jags to Tayside this weekend with McNamara calling on his side to hit those same heights.

McNamara said: "We're confident and rightly so.

"We've been playing well in recent games and want to keep that going for obvious reasons.

"It's a matter of more of more of the same and expressing ourselves as much as possible, like we did against St Mirren in our last home match, when Partick come here.

"And if we can keep up the same level of performance from our last home game against St Mirren then we'll be looking to win the match.

"It won't be easy because Thistle have proved they are a decent side since coming up to the top league.

"But it's about what we do at home and trying to do the things we're good at which is getting the ball down and playing a certain way.

"We'll be going out looking for three points but know we've got to make sure we work hard and so the other side as well to get the ball back when we don't have it."

McNamara has promised he won't lose any focus over the prospect of a less-than-friendly reception from the Thistle supporters following his departure from the Glasgow club earlier in the year.

He said: "It's about focusing on the job in hand. What went on in past has gone.

"I've got a lot of affection for Partick obviously from my time there. I worked with a lot of good players who achieved good things.

"But it's not about me. It's about Dundee United going to try and win this match, and not about me and what I'm doing on the touchline.

"We're going there to be professional as we are in every game.

"Nothing should put us off in our efforts to get three points."

McNamara has called on the home fans to play their part as they aim to make Tannadice a fortress again.

He said: "They've been great and appreciate what we're trying to do.

"We really need their support as it spurs the players on that extra bit. Hopefully we can give them the kind of display which they want.

"They enjoy seeing the team play good football which is something we always try to regardless of who we play against."

United defender Gavin Gunning hopes to shrug off a knee injury in time to face Alan Archibald's Partick after sitting out training on Thursday.

McNamara said: "Gavin didn't train but hopefully he'll be all right for the Partick game."

Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong are both fit after being away on Scotland international duty.

Partick defender Gabriel Piccolo insists he is warming to the Scottish game - despite struggling to adapt to the plunging temperatures.

The Mexican centre-half found it difficult to nail down a place in the Firhill line-up after securing a summer switch but did start the recent defeats to Aberdeen and St Mirren.

Those two games saw the Jags ship seven Scottish Premiership goals but with winter fast approaching, Piccolo hopes he has shown enough to boss Alan Archibald so he will not be frozen out once again.

The 24-year-old - who has played for Club America in his homeland as well as Spanish outfit Rayo Vallecano B - said: "It's my first Scottish winter but I'm not sure if I'm ready for it. I've heard a lot of things about how cold it gets. So far, it's not been so good.

"It's getting colder every day but I'm sure I will handle it. Back home it's about 15 or 20 degrees right now, much better than Scotland.

"But I'm enjoying it here. I didn't expect Scottish people to be so friendly. That surprised me. I like it here. The first four or five months have been really good for me.

"I didn't know much about there game here. But I have learned a lot. It's different to back in Mexico and Spain but I have learned from my mistakes.

"I have learned from the good things that I have done too and even when I've been watching from the bench, so I'd say it has been a good start for me.

"I did expect to play more minutes but you have to expect that sometimes you won't always play but I'm still learning."

Stephen O'Donnell and Gary Fraser are suspended for Partick. On-loan Bolton midfielder Fraser has been handed a seven-match Scottish Premiership ban for kicking Dunfermline's Chris Kane on the head and body while he was on the ground during a Under-20s match, while O'Donnell was dismissed last time out against St Mirren after picking up two bookings.

Sean Welsh, meanwhile, is struggling ahead of the trip to Tayside with a groin injury and may also miss out.

Source: PA