Old Dog Craig Brown Still Knows The Tricks

27 March 2010 11:29
Craig Brown may have his detractors but he also has his fans. United manager Peter Houston insists his Motherwell opposite number, Craig Brown, proves there is no substitute for experience in management. The Tannadice boss is at the opposite end of the spectrum, having only been a manager in his own right since December, but he has spent 19 years in coaching learning his trade. Eyebrows were raised when 69-year-old Brown took over at Fir Park along with fellow veteran Archie Knox but any thoughts people had they were out of touch were quickly dispelled as they have led Motherwell to the verge of third place. United know a win will hand them a firm advantage in the race for Europe but Houston knows he will have to outsmart his wily dugout opponent. He said: "I was with Craig on Thursday night and had a blether with him. He's done a magnificent job. He's experienced so he plays it all down and puts all the praise on his players. But Craig and Archie deserve loads of credit as well. They've guided the young lads through and by bringing back the likes of Steven Craigan and Stevie Hammell they have added experience. Motherwell's season has been reinvented since they went there. When they took over some folk said they were too old but that was total rubbish.'' Brown's experience in the game has been invaluable, according to Houston. He said: "Craig has a wealth of experience at the highest level and is the last man to take Scotland to a World Cup. Now, we've seen how hard that is to do with what has followed over the last 10 years and the longer time goes on the more people have come to appreciate what he did. And Archie has worked at a great level. He's been a manager in his own right, worked with people like Sir Alex Ferguson and then did it all with Walter (Smith) at Rangers and Everton. They have proved that you can't beat experience. It doesn't matter what age you are and when you have the knowledge and ability Craig and Archie have then you've got a top-class management team. Craig is an absolute gentleman, it's great to see him back in the game. He's always got a word of encouragement for the opposition and handles himself really well no matter what the situation.''Defender Paul Dixon returns after injury for the game but Tuesday night's Scottish Cup hero David Robertson, who scored the quarter-final replay winner against Rangers, misses out with a calf injury. Dixon has recovered from an ankle problem so comes into the squad to replace Robertson who left Tannadice on crutches on Thursday with bad bruising on his leg. Andy Webster is also available after sitting out against Rangers in midweek, but striker Damian Casalinuovo is out with a hamstring problem along with long-term injury victims Danny Cadamarteri (calf), Scott Robertson (groin) and Lee Wilkie (knee). Brown gave some of his Motherwell players a week off after their last game, a 3-1 win over Hearts on 13 March, while United played a rigorous 90 minutes on Wednesday when knocking Rangers out of the Scottish Cup. 'Well defender Jim O`Brien hopes his side can hit the ground running on their return as they challenge for third spot. O`Brien said: "It's probably the most important game of the season for us. We know what we want to achieve now and that's catch Dundee United. The manager has not put any pressure on us at all, he just said try to confirm top six and then start looking upwards. We've got top six and all we can do is look up. Just to get away from football for a week was excellent and just chilling out was brilliant. But coming in on Monday, the boys were all wanting to do extra. That's good to see in the dressing room, we all want to stay in winning ways. Hopefully that and United playing on Wednesday night will help us. But you don't get anything else but a hard game up at Tannadice.''Motherwell are set to select from an unchanged squad. Michael McGlinchey is pressing for involvement after scoring during an impressive performance in a midweek reserve friendly win over Celtic. Marc Fitzpatrick and Shaun Hutchinson remain on the sidelines with hamstring injuries. Editor Ger Harley (ger@scottishfitba net)Admin Team (admin@scottishfitba net)This is Scottish-Fitba Net