Dundee United working on plan to counter Hearts’ set-pieces

Dundee United manager Peter Houston. Picture: SNS
Dundee United manager Peter Houston. Picture: SNS
Have your say

DUNDEE UNITED are working on improving their defending ahead of Sunday’s visit to Tynecastle because manager Peter Houston is worried about Hearts’ threat at set-pieces.

Houston has put special plans in place to cope with the aerial dangers of players like John Sutton, Andy Webster, Marius Zaliukas and Callum Paterson.

After watching his team surrender a 3-0 lead against Inverness last weekend, Houston is determined to tighten up his defence. He admitted today that, with Hearts next on the fixture list, defending properly is imperative.

“We scored four goals in total last week and didn’t give up, so our attacking play was brilliant,” said Houston. “However, our defending of crosses from set plays was really disappointing. That’s stuff we are working on through this week because Hearts are a potent threat in my opinion. Webster, Zaliukas, Sutton, Paterson – all these boys are good in the air. If they put balls into the box and we don’t defend them properly, we will get punished. I’m wary of the threat Hearts have got. They are a good, solid side.”

Houston revealed that Rudi Skacel is back jogging despite nine stitches in a thigh wound sustained against Inverness. The United manager stressed he has no fears about selecting the Czech midfielder for an emotional re-appearance on the Tynecastle pitch. “Rudi is back jogging already and he’s very keen to play. It’s a big match for him going back to a club he served so well. He was a top player with Hearts. He’s now starting to show why I wanted to bring him in. He’s got some fitness about him, he’s looking sharper, he scored one goal last week and it could’ve been more.

“I said to Rudi when he first came in that we can do him a favour and he can do us a favour at the same time. He’s with us until the end of January but I’d like to keep him longer. Whether we have the money to keep him or the money he’s happy with to stay, I don’t know.

“It will be strange for him going into Tynecastle but he made his debut for us against Hearts at Tannadice. One thing I’ve found out about Rudi is he’s a very good mixer and he’s enjoying his time at Dundee United. I’m sure he’ll get a good reception from the Hearts supporters but we want him to silence them. There’s nothing I’d like better than for him to score a couple of goals and win us the game.”