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JIM SPENCE: Tony Watt on way to becoming high voltage signing for Dundee United

Tony Watt is already proving his worth at Dundee United, despite not yet finding the net
Tony Watt is already proving his worth at Dundee United, despite not yet finding the net

Tony Watt can be a high voltage signing for Dundee United.

His first start in their midweek win v Ross County was a display of football intelligence and learned craft.

His early, laser-guided, precision pass, which Mark McNulty couldn’t convert at the far post, was immediate proof, though none was surely needed, of the high-quality credentials he possesses.

Watt combines art, craft and guile, and the ball under his control is never more than an inch or two from his feet, exhibiting top-class composure.

Tony Watt in action in Dundee United’s midweek win over Ross County

Despite his goal tally at Motherwell, he’s not an out-and-out target man, but a sweet combination of striker and provider.

Which leads me to think that if United can add a Jon Daly-type front man for the kind of service Watt can provide, their goal famine could be solved…

In the meantime, Nicky Clark, with a penalty and a superbly executed headed goal on Wednesday, proved he has goals in him to accompany his skills, under-appreciated by some.

United lived dangerously at times in midweek but showed there’s enough quality to rediscover the kind of form which was so impressive in the early part of the season.


There’s been much talk about the pressure that Callum Davidson and James McPake are under, but it would be a rash act to dispense with either man, and I don’t believe that Steve Brown or John Nelms will countenance such action

I’m a big believer that if you appoint somebody then you must show faith in your judgement – and not be swayed by kneejerk and short-term considerations.

Left to some fans, clubs would go through managers like a fox in a henhouse.

Dundee boss James McPake at McDiarmid Park in midweek

That’s no way to build a football club.

Continuity and stability are the key elements needed to set a club on the right path and, while that road will have bumps and potholes, there’s no guarantee that bowing to the social media warriors – or those fans who bray the loudest inside grounds – will improve things one iota.

Neither Brown nor Nelms are trigger happy sackers and, although they’re getting it in the neck, both are long enough in the tooth to ride out short-term squalls and calls for managers’ heads.

Those calls come from a loud minority; most sensible supporters know the dangers of relieving a manager of his post in the hope of short-term gain, only to endure long-term pain.

St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson

I’ve often said that football is bread and circuses, but only in terms of the entertainment and sometimes comic value our madcap game gives us.

However I don’t find it funny to see men lose their jobs when they’re working hard and, in the Saints boss’ case, have provided undreamt-of success, with two cups on display in the McDiarmid Park trophy cabinet.

There’s no doubt that both St Johnstone and Dundee are involved in a relegation scrap – and one or both may go down.

Both clubs’ mangers, though, are still learning their trade and there’s no guarantee that anyone else would improve things.

Any change now would be an act of folly.

PODCAST: Nicky Clark is Dundee United’s answer to Stephen Dobbie and is getting better with age

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