Dundee United head coach Thomas Courts says he was pleased to get his reign off to a winning start against a ‘tricky’ Kelty Hearts side last night.
They left it late, but Lawrence Shankland’s strike on 77 minutes was enough for the Terrors to pick up all three Premier Sports Cup Group B points in Fife.
Lawrence Shankland finds the breakthrough for @dundeeunitedfc! 🟠⚫
Kelty Hearts haven't made it easy for them, but the visitors are finally in front 👏 pic.twitter.com/cCUlLzqu1J
— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) July 9, 2021
Going up against his former club, new head coach Courts was happy with United’s display against the impressive League Two men – managed by former Dundee midfielder Kevin Thomson.
Kelty made life difficult for the Premiership Tangerines – something Courts was fully aware of going into the clash after five years in charge at New Central Park.
‘Feed Shanks and he will score’
The United gaffer said: “I think we’re pleased to get the win. It was always going to be a tricky affair here.
“I obviously know this club inside out and it’s always a difficult place to come.
“The fact that we’ve kept a clean sheet, Shanks has scored a goal and we’ve gave some young players an opportunity; I think it’s been a worthwhile exercise.”
Courts reserved special praise for marksman Shankland, who latched on to a Kieran Freeman cut back with 13 minutes remaining to earn United the victory.
The Terrors boss has been impressed with the Scotland cap’s sharpness in pre-season and happy to see it carrying over into competitive action.
He continued: “That’s two in three for Shanks now.
“I think he was probably quite quiet on the night but he only needs that one opportunity.
“When that one opportunity comes, you see the outcome and the ball’s in the back of the net.”
Praise for debut boy Duffy
With Jamie Robson suspended and Adrian Sporle not fully fit, 17-year-old Flynn Duffy was handed a first-team debut at left-back.
Courts was happy with how the academy graduate coped up against experienced players like Joe Cardle and Kallum Higginbotham, praising the Terrors’ own veterans for helping guide Duffy through the match.
“He was fantastic,” Courts added.
“It’s always quite overwhelming for young players when they make their debuts. You see him having cramp and that’s just nervous energy.
“I thought he equipped himself really well and he can be really proud of his performance.
“I thought the experienced boys supported the young boys and it was fantastic.”