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Dundee United boss Tam Courts says Premiership winter break should have kicked in BEFORE Boxing Day Hibs clash

Dundee United manager Tam Courts
Dundee United boss Tam Courts wanted the Premiership winter break brought forward before Sunday's clash with Hibs

Tam Courts has admitted that he would have preferred for the Premiership winter break to be brought forward to before the Boxing Day round of fixtures.

Just 500 supporters will be admitted to Tannadice for Sunday’s visit of Hibernian after the Scottish government announced a series of new restrictions following a surge of Covid case numbers.

Top-flight clubs agreed on Wednesday for the January break to be brought forward to December 27, with all matches on December 29 and January 2 and 3 postponed.

And the United head coach said: “It seemed the majority of the clubs had a strong appetite to go into the winter break straight away. On a personal basis, that was my preference as well because we have got used to playing in front of fans and it is a time where the fans enjoy spending time with their families and coming to the stadiums.

“It is a busy schedule for the fans over the Christmas schedule and the disappointing thing for me is that we are playing this game this weekend and not drawing a line in the sand and going into the winter break straight away. I am a little bit disappointed at that.

“When you think about the football industry last year and all the financial ramifications and then we were playing in front of full stadiums again so it was the right decision to bring the winter break forward.  I would have preferred, and I think the majority of the clubs would have preferred, if that had started right away.”

Courts said that a congested fixture list later in the season IS a price worth if paying if it means United fans can watch their team in person.

He said: “Considering the options available to us we didn’t actually have a lot to consider.

“Contractually we have the players until the end of June so naturally you can look at extensions and different things. Fundamentally, the thing for me is trying to play as much football as possible in front of fans.

Dundee United have enjoyed celebrating with their fans again this season

“If the sensible idea is to bring forward the winter break to give us a better chance of playing in front of more fans, albeit in a congested fixture list then that is a sacrifice worth making.”

United have lost their last four matches, but can take confidence from their comfortable 3-0 victory at Easter Road back in October.

Courts said: “There is a lot of belief and optimism and positivity here. The 21 points we achieved in the first quarter gave us a solid foundation.

“We have taken four points from the second quarter and that is not what we targeted. A lot of the games we won by a goal and in the second quarter we have actually performed reasonably well but lost a number of games by a goal.

“We understand the points total we will need come the 33 game mark, where you try to get into the top six. I am very optimistic that come January with the boys coming back and a couple of signings we will get back on form again.”

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