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EXCLUSIVE: Archie Meekison reveals Ryan Gauld inspiration as starlet insists Dundee United have nothing to lose in Old Firm double-header

Archie Meekison in action at Celtic Park
Archie Meekison in action at Celtic Park

Dundee United starlet Archie Meekison wants to emulate the soaring rise of ‘inspirational’ Gussie Park graduate Ryan Gauld.

Meekison, who turned 20 on Wednesday, has been on the books at United since the age of seven and is considered one of the brightest creative talents at Tannadice.

He showcased that ability with a superb performance in Saturday’s pivotal 1-0 triumph over Motherwell.

Setting himself lofty standards, Meekison is adamant he is capable of producing plenty more decisive moments and standout showings.

And he reckons the Vancouver Whitecaps talisman Gauld is the perfect mentor.

Gauld burst onto the scene for Terrors at the age of 16, scoring nine goals in 50 appearances before landing a high-profile switch to Portuguese giants Sporting.

Gauld is a firm favourite at Vancouver
Gauld is a firm favourite at Vancouver

“I’ve been at United since I was seven and, thinking of who I looked up to, Ryan Gauld is the one that stands out,” Meekison told Courier Sport.

“I trained with him a couple of times at Gussie Park and watching him break through when he was so young was an inspiration. You could see how special he was.

“I think I’ve watched every single clip of Ryan Gauld on YouTube!

He’s such a clever player and, in terms of how he likes to play, quite similar to myself. He was able to show his creative side and quality in the final third and that’s something I want to improve on.

“I’m quite skilful and sometimes I feel like I don’t use that enough. Taking on players and getting shots away is something I want to do more.

“That end product — opening up games and creating chances — is what will secure me a place in the team every week.”

Killer instinct

That willingness to attempt an audacious pass was on full display against the Steelmen, with Meekison playing a major role in the only goal of the game with a sumptuous flick in the build-up to Dylan Levitt’s winner.

“That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?” smiled Meekison. “Structure and tactics are vital, but when you get to the top end of the pitch, it’s about showcasing what you can do and what separates you.

“Maybe that killer instinct is something we’ve been missing; not taking as many chances as we should. We, as players, need to take it upon ourselves to improve that.”

Meekison hopes his impact against Motherwell proves enough to retain his place for the upcoming Premiership encounters against Rangers and Celtic.

Despite a modest 12 appearances to his name, Meekison has been around the first-team picture for the last three campaigns and firmly believes he is ready to make his mark.

I’m not one for chapping on doors — that’s not my style — but I’ve been trying to show why I should be playing in training,” said the Edinburgh-born attacking midfielder.

“I’ve been doing that recently and that’s why the gaffer has put me in. I just need to keep showing every time I come on the park why I deserve to be playing every week.”

Meekison added: “I’ve played at Ibrox and Celtic Park already this season and, on both those occasions, we had a right go at them.

“We have got absolutely nothing to lose.

 Meekison shone against Motherwell
Meekison shone against Motherwell

“They are strong teams and they’ll come all guns blazing — but that’s something for us to relish and take it upon ourselves to rise to that challenge.”

Meekison’s dream

Meekison, meanwhile, admits the prospect of being part of a squad that takes United back to Europe for the first time in a decade is ‘a dream’.

The Tangerines boast a four-point advantage over sixth-placed Motherwell with three games left.

With fourth and fifth positions in the Premiership both securing Europa Conference League qualifying berths, the outlook is positive.

“That feeling of playing at Tannadice just doesn’t get old,” continued the boyhood Arab. “The more I do it, the more exciting it is!

“Now it’s up to me to push on and make sure I am playing. I want to play for United in the big games; the ones that matter.

“To be part of a team trying to get European football is a dream.”

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