Dundee United manager Ray McKinnon wants match-winners to be game-changers

Ray McKinnon.

Dundee United manager Ray McKinnon will look to his match-winners to be game-changers against Falkirk tonight.

The Tangerines go into the second leg of the Premiership play-off semi-final against the Bairns as slight underdogs following Tuesday’s 2-2 draw at Tannadice.

It will take a special performance from United to get into the final but McKinnon believes he has some special players in his team.

People like Tony Andreu, Simon Murray, Thomas Mikkelsen, Blair Spittal and even Wato Kuate have all shown themselves to be capable of producing a moment of magic.

That adds up to a big attacking threat and the hope is that they will all give Falkirk manager Peter Houston something to think about this evening.

McKinnon is certainly confident that there is enough on-form talent in his team to give them a real chance of reaching the final against either Hamilton Accies or Inverness Caley Thistle.

The United boss said: “We have match-winners in our team, without a doubt.

“For example, Simon has been massive for us lately and so has Blair. There are others as well.

“We have been looking at their stats and both of them are right at the top of their game.

“There are others like them in the side as well.

“That is why I believe it is 50-50 going into the second leg.”

Considering those attacking options, McKinnon stressed that the Tangerines will be on the front foot tonight.

“We are not underestimating how tough it is going to be because Falkirk are a good side and they have had great results over the last few years,” said McKinnon.

“Of course, we know we will have to be solid going there but we won’t be sitting back.

“It is about winning it.

“You have to be competitive, organised and manage the game but you can’t sit off in a match like this.

“If Falkirk think the job is done then is that a weakness? It could be but we are just focused on ourselves.

“I believe it will come down to who wants it more.

“We are taking a big crowd down with us, the fans have been brilliant and hopefully we can give them something to cheer.”

United have been heading to the beach at St Andrews to wade in the North Sea as part of their recovery programme and McKinnon revealed it is a method he used himself as a player.

“I had been down the beach a few times when I was younger and also did it at other clubs when we were away to things.

“It is great because it refreshes the legs and the boys feel great when they come out after it.

“We have done it before every game and we have done it again.

“It is the same as an ice bath but I think it is probably better for them mentally because it is a bit of a laugh as well.

“I have always bought into the old wives’ tale that standing in the sea is good for your bones and the salt water helps you.

“You never know with those old things, it might be true!

“What we do know is the players say it makes them feel fresh when they come out of the water.

“We pulled them all in up to their chests before the Falkirk game and then I named the team!

“Everyone goes in and nobody gets to stand on the beach because we are all in this together.

“It has worked the last few games so hopefully it keeps going and we will be in the sea again next week.”

United are expected to go with Paul Dixon at left-back and Sean Dillon on the right.

That is because Jamie Robson has looked tired, while Stewart Murdoch’s season is over after suffering a groin injury early in the first game.

McKinnon said: “Stewart looks like he will be out and we have another couple carrying knocks so we’ll wait until the day of the game before naming the team.

“Jamie has recovered well but he has looked fatigued lately. We have a very good replacement in Paul.”