The Dundee United chairman admits selling Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong was wrong from a football perspective.
Managers Alan Archibald and Jackie McNamara react to Partick Thistle’s 2-0 Premiership win at Dundee United.
Thistle sting United
Partick Thistle shocked Dundee United with a well-deserved Premiership win at Tannadice to lift themselves seven points clear of relegation.
Alan Archibald’s side secured a much-needed victory thanks to goals from Stephen O’Donnell and an own goal awarded against Jaroslaw Fojut towards the end of the first half at Tannadice.
But for United it was the last result they had wanted before taking on Celtic in next Sunday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final tie.
Ryan McGowan became the first player to be booked by referee Greg Aitken in the 14th minute for a late lunge on Christie Elliott as the visitors made a bright start.
Thistle were more than holding their own against the League Cup finalists and Stuart Bannigan played the ball through to Lyle Taylor, who manged to get his shot away but ended up firing straight at Radoslaw Cierzniak in the home goal.
The visitors went forward again as the half-hour mark approached, with Bannigan’s weighted pass inviting Taylor to dart towards goal, but Cierzniak denied him by racing off his line to clear.
United were living dangerously at the back and Cierzniak was called into action again when James Craigen opted to try his luck from distance, forcing the Polish keeper to gather.
But they were not to be denied a breakthrough as the Firhill side deservedly went ahead on 35 minutes.
A flowing move which began with keeper Paul Gallacher was sealed when Taylor cutely back-heeled the ball into the path of O’Donnell on the edge of the penalty area.
As Paul Paton attempted to close him down, O’Donnell worked a clever side-step before curling with his left foot high into Cierzniak’s opposite corner for a great opener.
And the visitors went 2-0 ahead six minutes later.
Kallum Higginbotham’s corner eluded the stationary United defence and eventually crossed the line when a deflection left Cierzniak helpless, with both Fojut and McGowan in attendance.
United attempted to inject some life into their play early in the second half with the introduction of substitute Henri Anier at the expense of Charlie Telfer, but the pattern remained the same with Thistle looking the more likely team to add to their tally.
Again Taylor got the better of the United defence in 55 minutes, turning Sean Dillon before angling a shot low narrowly wide of the target.
Any chances created were by the visitors who mounted another attack with 20 minutes remaining, O’Donnell starting the move which ended with Bannigan’s shot from the left fizzing past Cierzniak’s far post.
United did carve out a rare opening in the 77th minute as substitute Mario Bilate put through Anier, but he couldn’t keep his effort on target.
That more or less summed up the home team’s afternoon and in injury time Anier fired high over the bar from Ciftci’s cross, ensuring the visitors left delighted with their efforts.
Dundee United’s Nadir Ciftci could miss three crucial matches against Celtic after being offered a two-match ban.
Managers John Hughes and Jackie McNamara react to the 1-1 draw between Inverness and Dundee United at Tannadice.
McGowan earns point for United
Ryan McGowan’s first goal for Dundee United rescued a point against Inverness after Michal Szromnik continued a poor start to his Tannadice career with an early red card.
Greg Tansey netted a ninth-minute penalty after the goalkeeper had been sent off for bringing down Marley Watkins, who caused United all sorts of problems in the early stages with his runs in behind.
But Caley Thistle were never entirely comfortable in a lively contest that saw eight players booked and McGowan finished at the second attempt in the 74th minute to secure a 1-1 draw that prevented the visitors moving 10 points clear of United in the top four of the Scottish Premiership.
And the drama continued into injury time when Inverness defender Gary Warren was shown a straight red card following an off-the-ball clash with Nadir Ciftci.
Inverness right-back David Raven was the first player booked after 13 seconds for hacking down Ryan Dow and the next, more significant, card came for Szromnik five minutes later.
The 21-year-old had retained his place in the starting line-up despite conceding two soft goals on his debut on Saturday in United’s 2-0 home defeat by St Johnstone.
He was put in trouble by Graeme Shinnie’s ball over the top and a perfectly-timed run by Watkins to beat the offside trap, despite protests from the home dugout.
Watkins raced past the goalkeeper with the ball and there was no doubt about the red card after the Pole took the striker out just inside the box.
Chris Erskine was sacrificed for Radoslaw Cierzniak, who dived the wrong way from Tansey’s penalty.
Watkins soon rounded his second goalkeeper of the night after a one-two with Nick Ross but this time centre-back McGowan got in front of him to shepherd the ball wide.
The 10 men fought back and Dow had two chances in the right channel, the first following a blatant push from Ciftci and the second after a back-heel from the striker, but Ryan Esson was only forced into action once and got down to hold.
Watkins sent a weak effort straight at Cierzniak after being gifted possession and the game grew increasingly ill-tempered.
Paul Paton and Warren were booked after a flare-up and Shinnie followed for a late tackle on Dow, with Esson holding Ciftci’s subsequent free-kick.
Ross Draper headed over from two yards with his back to goal at the other end after Ryan Christie’s corner had ultimately reached him in a crowded goalmouth full of jostling players.
With refere Calum Murray under pressure from the home fans in the 7,276 crowd – which was boosted by B#5 admission prices – Raven took a risk with a clumsy foul on Paul Dixon 60 seconds after the interval but he avoided another card.
Watkins and Christie were booked as United forced Inverness to give everything to protect their lead.
Esson blocked well from Dow before the hour mark and Ciftci shot well over under pressure.
Caley Thistle were beginning to look more comfortable when McGowan levelled.
The former Hearts player initially mis-kicked after Sean Dillon’s cross broke to him just inside the box but his second effort took a deflection and sailed past Esson into the top corner.
United almost took the lead three minutes later when Paton’s long ball sent Ciftci clear but Esson came off his line to parry the forward’s shot.
Inverness soon reasserted themselves as an attacking force and Danny Williams had a header blocked before Watkins flicked the ball wide. Cierzniak then pushed over Tansey’s powerful free-kick after Dow was booked for a cynical foul on Christie.
United had just seen an attack fizzle out when Warren and Ciftci clashed, with the former dismissed and the latter shown a yellow card for his part in a tussle that prompted a linesman to run into the penalty box.
Managers Tommy Wright and Jackie McNamara react to St Johnstone’s 2-0 win at Dundee United in the Premiership.
Saints stroll to derby win
St Johnstone comfortably won this Tayside derby 2-0 thanks to Michael O’Halloran’s first-half double which made for only Dundee United’s second home defeat of the season at Tannadice.
Tommy Wright’s side were put on their way to victory after forward O’Halloran opened the scoring on 10 minutes when his shot squirmed past United debutant keeper Michal Szromnik, before the 24-year-old notched his second on 44 minutes.
It meant a second consecutive Scottish Premiership league defeat for Jackie McNamara’s United who hope to bounce back in Tuesday’s re-arranged game with Inverness.
United were aiming to make amends for last weekend when they went down 3-2 away to Kilmarnock but it was the visitors who threatened first.
On nine minutes, David Wotherspoon unleashed a shot from 25 yards which was well saved by Szromnik at the expense of a corner.
But Saints were not to be denied and a minute later they went ahead.
O’Halloran cut inside from the left and wasted no time in shooting from 22 yards.
His effort swerved and took a bounce but despite getting a hand to it, Szrmonik could not keep it out as it found its way into the back of the net.
United tried their best to get back on level terms and had a period of pressure soon after.
Nadir Ciftci had a shot blocked by Saints defender Frazer Wright, before Ryan McGowan’s header from Paul Dixon’s in-swinging free-kick went over the bar as the half-hour mark approached.
Then, a minute later, Ciftci’s volley was deflected off Chris Millar for a corner which Ryan Dow took but for the hosts it came to nothing.
But Saints made it 2-0 in 44 minutes when Dave Mackay’s cross was met by unmarked O’Halloran whose volley from 10 yards beat Szromnik, even though the Polish keeper again got a hand to his effort.
It was the perfect boost for the visiting side going in at the break, while the hosts had everything to do in the second half.
Saints made a change with Lee Croft replacing Simon Lappin and Mackay had a shot on 51 minutes which went over Szromnik’s bar.
United made a double substitution in 57 minutes as Charlie Telfer and Blair Spittal took over from John Rankin and Calum Butcher.
However, it was Saints who had the opportunity to go further ahead on 64 minutes.
This time Wright laid the ball into the path of Steven MacLean but his left-foot effort went just wide of the target.
Soon after, the Perth side were on the attack again when substitute Croft raced down the right and his cross was almost turned into his own goal by McGowan, only for Szromnik to gather a yard out.
On 68 minutes, Ciftci came close for United when his shot from inside the box was deflected, forcing Saints keeper Alan Mannus to parry the ball wide for a corner.
That gave the hosts a bit of a lift and Paul Dixon tried his luck shortly after but his left-foot effort went past the far post.
Still, though, Saints remained in control and successfully saw out the closing stages to pick up three valuable points.
Managers Gary Locke and Jackie McNamara talk to BBC Scotland after Kilmarnock’s 3-2 win over Dundee United.
New York City director of football Claudio Reyna does not expect Frank Lampard to get a hard time from the fans when he finally arrives in the Big Apple.
Lampard was expected to join Manchester City’s sister club in January, but he will now remain at the Etihad until the summer after City decided to keep hold of him.
That decision, which has left David Villa as the MLS newcomers’ only marquee player in the short term, upset some season ticket holders but ex-City midfielder Reyna believes that will be forgotten in time.
“I think they will be fine,” he told several national newspapers. “We understand the fans’ disappointment, wanting to watch him play from the beginning but he’s coming in July and he’s very, very committed. He was in a difficult situation so he doesn’t deserve any negative backlash in anyway and I don’t think he will get it.”
Reyna, who was in Manchester with New York City ahead of their maiden MLS campaign which begins next month, insisted Lampard staying with the reigning Premier League champions was never a problem.
“It was never the (original) intention to stay but he did great, it was extended for another five months but that shows how good he is and is testimony to what he’s done with City,” he added.
“Honestly, it wasn’t as big a deal for us as it was made out to be. I think who we are and the fact we are connected to Manchester City made it a bigger story which shows we are quite relevant in the League already without having played yet.”