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Danish duo get off to winning start as Dundee United march on in cup

Emil Lyng celebrates his goal.
Emil Lyng celebrates his goal.

Once upon a time, Dundee United turned to a striker from Denmark in their hour of need.

He went by the name of Finn Dossing and back in the 1960s he helped transform the club into a force to be reckoned with both at home and abroad.

Now, bruised and battered after first relegation and then a failed promotion campaign, over five decades on they find themselves with not one Danish frontmen but two.

Thomas Mikkelsen is back at Tannadice for his second spell, on loan from Ross County, and he has teamed up with fellow countryman Emil Lyng.

Of course, neither player is likely to get close to the legendary status of Dossing but they will still be hailed as heroes if they can help fire United back into the Premiership.

Both men played in the 2-0 win over Alloa in the William Hill Scottish Cup fourth round tie at the Indodrill Stadium on Saturday.

It was a good day for the Danish duo, with Mikkelsen getting his second debut out of the way and Lyng grabbing his first goal for his new side.

Lyng’s deflected strike on 62 minutes combined with Mark Durnan’s header just a minute before half-time to give Csaba Laszlo’s men a straightforward if not scintillating win over the Wasps.

He was delighted to get off the mark and he is also looking forward to being both a rival and pal of Mikklesen’s in the weeks and months ahead.

Lyng said: “It is always important to score your first goal for a new club so I’m happy.

“I maybe didn’t expect it to come in this match because I was playing on the right side but I have played there before and scored so it’s not a problem.

“It was nice, especially it being an important goal.

“My fitness is getting better, day by day, and I am also building up my confidence.

“I am maybe still struggling a bit with timing and technical touches but all that will come.”

As for the arrival of compatriot Mikkelsen, Lyng joked that the pair could have something of a bitter bromance.

“Of course, it is always nice to be able to speak your own language when you are at a club abroad,” he said.

“His family is already here and my family will be coming next week so that should help to have other Danish people around.

“I knew Thomas from before. I had never played with him but did so against him a few times.

“Was he a tough opponent? No, never!

“I am only kidding – he is a great player. He actually fits well into Scottish football, I think.

“He is a target man who keeps the ball well so we will be battling to play the number nine position.

“Maybe, because of that competition, it will be a hate and love relationship!

“No, we will be good friends and it’s great to have him here.”

As nice as a successful day out in the cup can be, Lyng knows that it is the league that really matters for United and next up will be Morton at Tannadice this weekend.

He said: “This win can give us confidence for the league because we got two goals and a clean sheet.

“It was a game we should have won and we did our job.”

The first half at Alloa was a familiar one for United, with the Tangerines dominating the possession but the opposition still creating good chances.

Indeed, with less than a minute on the clock, the hosts should have scored.

Kris Renton fired a great ball over from the right and, from just a yard or so in front of goal, Jordan Kirkpatrick somehow managed to shoot over the bar.

The visitors’ first decent effort came from Sam Stanton, who signed a permanent deal on the eve of the match. He stepped inside then curled a left-foot shot around the post.

United goalie Harry Lewis produced a crucial save just a few minutes later when he blocked Kirkpatrick’s strike at the back post.

The breakthrough came just a minute before the break for the Tannadice men when Durnan headed down and into net after he was found by Craig Slater’s corner from the right.

Mark Durnan, right, scores to make it 1-0.

United came within a whisker of going two up on 57 minutes when Scott McDonald’s point-blank shot was superbly saved by home keeper Neil Parry after a great cross from Billy King.

They did increase their lead on 62 minutes, however, when Lyng’s shot from the right side of the box was deflected into the net.

Paul Quinn then had a netbound shot blocked near the line for United and sub Idris Kadded smashed the ball off the face of the bar late on but two goals were more than enough to see the job through.

Laszlo revealed that he fired a verbal volley at the players at half-time and he was happy with the way they responded.

Csaba Laszlo in action on the touchline.

“We are in the next round and there were many reasons to be positive but I was very loud in the dressing room at half-time,” he said.

“I told them that when they go on to the pitch, I want to see the spirit.

“It is not enough to be wearing the Dundee United jersey – the shirt doesn’t win the game, the man does.

“The players understood that they needed to do more and I was very satisfied with the response.

“They were completely different halves and, in the end, I believe we deserve to be in the next round.”