Dundee United gaffer Ray McKinnon has revealed weekend goal hero Mark Durnan almost wasn’t on the park for Saturday’s win over Falkirk.
But the right attitude and a blossoming defensive partnership saw the 23-year-old get the nod when it game to Ray’s big weekend selection call.
After doing well in recent weeks, Durnan missed the win over Dumbarton through suspension.
Coll Donaldson came in and impressed and that left the manager with a difficult choice as he finalised his line-up for the visit of the Bairns.
In the end he opted for Durnan and it proved a big call as the centre-half broke from the back late on to start and finish the move for United’s winner.
“It was very tough and I went with him because Mark had played the three games prior to getting sent off down at St Mirren.
“He had built a good relationship with William Edjenguele.
“It helped put us on our good run but Coll was excellent when he came in and I could easily have gone with him.
“I went with Mark because I just felt it was an opportunity to keep that partnership together and give it another chance.
“And I saw him this week in training and he had a real desire about him.
“I knew he would come in and do well.”
And as for that 82nd-minute winner — Durnan’s first of the season — it was clear it was not one from the training ground but the quality of the strike could see the big defender getting extra duties there.
“What was he doing? He’s intercepted it near his own box, moved forward, played it wide and then he’s popped up in the box to finish it.
“It was a great goal, a great finish. I’ll need to get him to take the training for the strikers this week!”
Late as the winner came, Ray felt it was no less than his players deserved.
“I was really pleased with the boys,” said the Tangerines gaffer.
“I think it was thoroughly deserved.
“I think we dominated the game apart from 10 minutes before half time and I think we were in control.
“We were just hoping we’d get that goal we deserved.
“Mark popped up with that goal and I was really happy with that.”
United got through the 90 minutes with no fresh injury worries.