Dundee UNITED striker Johnny Russell has backed teammate Gary Mackay- Steven to push the Dinamo Moscow defence to their limit in tonight’s Europa League third qualifying second leg in Russia.
Mackay-Steven, 21, stole the show with his buccaneering display as the sides drew 2-2 in the first leg at Tannadice last Thursday. The former Airdrie winger was also named man-of-the-match in United’s opening Scottish Premier League fixture against Hibs on Sunday. Now Russell, who scored the opener in the 3-0 win over the Easter Road men, believes the highly-rated Scotland Under-21 international can prove the difference once more.
“Gaz can give anyone a torrid time,” he said. “Even before the first leg when he was outstanding, I fancied him to do that. When he is on his game he is pretty much unplayable. He can do inside then outside, get round defenders and is so strong. Gary is a great player and is a tremendous asset to Dundee United – Dinamo would be silly not to double up on him because if you give him space he’s going to hurt you.
“Every team is going to give him extra attention but he’ll rise to the challenge.”
Russell wants to progress to the next qualifying round of the tournament and believes Dinamo paid the price for not respecting United last week. “The fact we were under-estimated spurred us on. There were a few comments too and I believe foreign teams are disrespectful that way,” he said. “They came into the tie not thinking they were going to get that kind of game. We have a lot of great technical players in Scotland.
“The way we played was an eye-opener for them but after putting so much effort into the first leg their late equaliser was a body blow. But the way we kicked on against Hibs speaks volumes for the lads and we reckon we can win in Moscow. We want to push ourselves to the next stage.”