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JIM SPENCE: Dundee United and Mathew Cudjoe in ‘delicate dance’ over possible new contract

An impressive start to the season by Mathew Cudjoe has prompted talk of a contract extension.

Mathew Cudjoe takes the acclaim of fans at Tannadice.
Mathew Cudjoe has impressed early on in the final year of his contract. Image: SNS

Mathew Cudjoe is Dundee United’s most inventive player.

The Ghanaian is diminutive, but his close control and ability to ghost past markers and score sensational goals, like the one against Dunfermline, makes him a contender for most exciting player in the Championship.

Smaller players need special talents to cope with the robust nature of football, but Cudjoe’s slight build doesn’t stop him bouncing back from tough treatment, and he’s always willing to show for the ball despite hard knocks.

United now have the spine of a good side from goalkeeper through central defence to Moult in attack, but it would be intriguing to see Cudjoe’s creative juices unleashed in an even freer role to add extra spice.

His agent is seeking an improved deal for the 19-year-old, who is out of contract in the summer.

These situations are always a delicate dance.

Cudjoe may be on lesser wages than some players with expiring shelf lives at Tannadice and will feel he’s worth more with his star currently in the ascendancy.

It’s still early days in his development but, given his potential, United should ponder their next move carefully.


Dundee fans saw clearly in midweek the quality they’ll face on Sunday against Hearts.

The Tynecastle club lost 2-1 to PAOK, but are clearly going to finish in the Premiership’s top four.

The link play and goal threat of Liam Boyce and Lawrence Shankland is a joy to watch, and will require high levels of defensive concentration to stop.

Scoring goals regularly is the Holy Grail for all teams and, unfortunately for Dundee, Shankland sniffs them out like a bloodhound chasing escaped convicts.

If the Dark Blues can nullify his threat – and find some of their own – there’ll be reason to be cheerful.

Dundee boss Tony Docherty at Bonnyrigg Rose. Image: SNS.
Dundee boss Tony Docherty. Image: SNS.

There’s been a fortnight’s work on the training ground to hone their finishing skills for what will be their stiffest league test so far.

Had Zach Robinson converted his penalty at St Mirren, Josh Mulligan’s second half goal might’ve seen Tony Docherty’s side emerge with a better outcome. Such are the fine margins in the top league, but there were enough encouraging signs to suggest they’re on the right track.

The Dundee boss says his men shouldn’t be cowed facing Hearts, and he’s right.

A confident and bold approach at Dens is one that just might pay dividends, depending how much Hearts’ midweek exertions have taxed them.


St Johnstone manager Steven MacLean.
St Johnstone manager Steven MacLean. Image: SNS

Stephen MacLean’s decision that some senior St Johnstone players can seek pastures new is a wise one.

The Saints gaffer’s learning trajectory in the early days of his managerial career has resembled a Lear jet on take off, but he’s quickly assessed who can help and who will hinder progress.

His clutch of new signings would’ve been better earlier than later, but some of that was beyond his control.

He’s right to say: “Come the end of the transfer window, you’ll see a St Johnstone team that will be mine. Then I can be judged on that.”

His summer rebuilding began later than he’d like, but it’s under way.

Now he can really start moulding the team in his own style.

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