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Betfred Cup win puts Dundee United on course to qualify from group stage

Calum Butcher in action against Hearts.
Calum Butcher in action against Hearts.

Dundee United’s Betfred Cup win at Stenhousemuir was by no means the best performance under him, but boss Robbie Neilson was able to take plenty of positives from the Ochilview trip.

The Tangerines are on course to qualify from their group thanks to second-half goals from Paul Watson and Calum Butcher.

And, while Andrew Munro pulled one back for the League Two outfit, United always looked on course for a comfortable win.

Calum Butcher in action in United’s previous tie with Hearts.

“It’s always hard these games.We’re still in pre-season and we played on Friday night,” said Robbie.

“The astro makes it difficult because the ball bounces about a bit. I’ve been here before and won 3-2 with a last-minute winner, so you just take it, you take the win and get up the road.”

Robbie was pleased to see winning goal scorer Butcher back in the starting line-up for the first time since he tore a groin muscle during May’s play-off games.

Having handed starts to Louis Appere (20) and Logan Chalmers (19), he was pleased with their contributions as well.

Logan Chalmers.

“Calum gives us that stability we’re looking for in there. I thought Ian Harkes did well there as well and Sam Stanton did very well when he came on.

“I thought the kids did well. Like many kids, their decision-making is something they can get better at, but both had good moments in the game.

“They have worked hard during the close season, so they deserved the chance to come in and there are a couple of other young ones in the background who will get game time in the coming weeks. The future is bright for the place.”

After drawing at Hearts in their opener, United are now sitting on four points in Group A, a point behind the Jambos.

With home ties against Cowdenbeath on Friday and East Fife next Tuesday to come, they are looking good to progress as one of the second-placed teams with the best record.

“All in all it’s been good. Three points from this one and we’re sitting with four points after the draw at Tynecastle and a hard game here. We now go into two home games and we know what we have to do.”

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