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LEE WILKIE: Why the future looks bright for Dundee United despite recent run

Columnist Lee Wilkie (left) with Dundee United's Craig Moore (top) and Darren Watson (below).
Columnist Lee Wilkie (left) with Dundee United's Craig Moore (top) and Darren Watson (below).

Dundee United may have lost a fourth game in a row without scoring.

But Saturday’s 1-0 reverse at Rangers showed the future is still bright for the Tangerines.

Last week’s preparation was pretty much unprecedented thanks to their Covid problems.

And, I have to admit, I feared the worst when I saw so many changes to the team – and so many young players thrown into the Ibrox cauldron.

But, to their huge credit, the young lads took that intense atmosphere in their stride.

It was a brave call from Tam Courts.

Not because these lads don’t have the talent but because they’ve never experienced anything quite like that before.

Craig Moore

As brave as Courts was for the team selection, the real courage came from the players themselves.

During my time coaching the youth players at Tannadice, I knew there was some serious talent on its way through to the first team.

But there’s one thing showing your talent on a training pitch. In front of 50,000 away fans at Rangers against top class players is something completely different.

Craig Moore asks for the ball at Ibrox.

Sixteen-year-old Craig Moore made his United debut up against players like John Lundstram, experienced Premier League player, and a player who played at the Euros in the summer in Glen Kamara.

That’s got to be intimidating.

Testament to Moore, though, he didn’t display any fear, showed the great awareness and composure I know he’s got.

And he probably showed more bravery on that pitch than a lot of experienced players would have, always showing for the ball and wanting it.

That’s exactly what you want to see.

Chris Mochrie

Chris Mochrie, too, impressed.

He’s one that’s had to deal with a bit of expectation coming through the ranks.

He has so much ability and he has shown glimpses of what he can do in the first team.

I’m sure he’ll be kicking himself over his chance in the first half.

Tam Courts and his team at full-time.

But it was a great learning experience for all the young lads.

I’m sure when Chris has an opportunity like that again in a similar setting, there will be a different outcome.

Though they’ve come away with no points, the experience gained by the two I’ve mentioned as well as Darren Watson, Archie Meekison, Declan Glass and Kerr Smith will do them wonders going forward.

Declan Glass holds off Glen Kamara.

I hope their performances also gives Courts some food for thought.

Watson in particular has shown he’s a threat at first-team level and I don’t think it’ll be long before he’s scoring and assisting.

On that side of things, there are positives at Tannadice.

Finding form?

Right now, though, their form is anything but.

And Hibs on Boxing Day isn’t the easiest fixture but they have to stop the rot.

It might be a good time to play the Hibees, though, after their cup final defeat.

What United have to do is give the Tannadice crowd something to shout about.

Or it will be a miserable Christmas for the Tangerines.


How Craig Moore made Dundee United history with Rangers debut

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