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Tam Courts explains why he benched new boy Tony Watt as Dundee United boss remains ‘calm and focused’

Tony Watt came off the bench to replace Ilmari Niskanen
Tony Watt came off the bench to replace Ilmari Niskanen

Dundee United boss Tam Courts has revealed why he chose not to hand a first start to Tony Watt in the defeat to St Mirren.

Watt was forced to spend the first hour on the bench just 24 hours after making the Β£100,000 switch from Motherwell.

Watt is the Scottish Premiership’s top scorer with nine goals and United fans were desperate to see their new number 32 on from the start.

But Courts didn’t believe it was right to pitch him straight into his starting side for the Saints clash.

Watt’s move on Monday came AFTER Courts had named his starting XI for the visit of Saints.

Tony Watt made his Dundee United debut as a sub against St Mirren
Tony Watt made his Dundee United debut as a sub against St Mirren

There is no doubt that Watt will be an integral part of Courts’ plans going forward.

But on this occasion, he chose to give Marc McNulty a comeback after four months out.

“I was tempted to start Tony Watt but the move happened so quickly that I wasn’t sure,” added Courts.

“He did his media stuff up at the ground and it was a busy day for him. It’s not ideal preparation.

“Quite frankly, I wasn’t sure that the deal was actually going to happen.

“If I had confidence that the deal was going through, I’d have left a window for him to start.

“But the deal came out of the blue and by that time I’d already told the players the team. It would have been very difficult to change it then.

“Ironically, we lost a goal two minutes after he came on the pitch but we saw the difference he’ll make after that.”

Tony Watt set for start at Kilmarnock as Tam Courts remains ‘calm and focused’

Tam Courts
Tam Courts remains upbeat despite the loss to St Mirren

Meanwhile, Courts insists he remains ‘calm and focused’ despite United recording their sixth straight defeat.

United will travel to Kilmarnock in the Scottish Cup at the weekend.

They haven’t tasted victory since a 1-0 win over Aberdeen in November.

“It’s concerning on the basis that we need a 90-minute performance,” said Courts.

“We are in the frame of mind where we just need a win.

“I feel calm, I feel focused. The players are focused too.

“But – at home against St Mirren and with what we are targeting – we really need three points.

“The lads showed there is a a lot of fight still in this team.

“We are closer to getting to know the players that are in-form and can actually get us that win.”

Dundee United 1 St Mirren 2: Tony Watt debut but United make it six defeats in a row

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