Dundee United midfielder Sam Stanton still confident season can end on high

Sam Stanton.

Sam Stanton insists Dundee United can still finish the season on a high.

The midfielder, who scored one of his side’s goals in Sunday’s 4-2 William Hill Scottish Cup fifth round defeat to Aberdeen at Pittodrie, is confident that there is still plenty left in this Championship campaign for the Tangerines.

While the Tannadice men were on cup duty at the weekend, they slipped into third spot in the table thanks to Livingston’s league draw with Dunfermline.

So that leaves them trailing leaders St Mirren by 14 points, with two games in hand, and behind the West Lothian side on goal difference, albeit with one fewer game played.

It is ironic, considering their backlog of fixtures, that the United players will now have an extended break before resuming action away to second-placed Livi at the Tony Macaroni Arena a week on Friday.

With the two teams above them meeting at Almondvale this Saturday – the Tangerines’ fixture against Dumbarton was postponed because of the Sons’ involvement in the Irn-Bru Cup – they are guaranteed to have lost further ground to one or both by the time they get back on the park again.

However, Stanton remains upbeat, saying: “We can take a lot of positives from that performance against Aberdeen.

“We feel we have the players who can get us going again.

“Aberdeen are a very good team but I think we showed, in the second half, that we can match them.

“We still have belief that we have the players in the squad to allow us to finish the season strongly.

“We have had a lot on injuries,” added Stanton, who saw central defender Paul Quinn pull out of the Dons match because of a thigh strain.

“I think we have seven or eight at the moment.

“That never helps but we will never use that as an excuse.

“We know that, even with those injuries, we still have players who are good enough to pick up points.”

United boss Laszlo was irked by the loss of Aberdeen’s second and third goals on Sunday.

The former saw Craig Slater surrender possession in the lead-up to Gary Mackay-Steven’s strike and the latter was conceded just a minute after Stanton had made it 2-1 with a fine strike at the other end of the pitch.

Stanton’s shared Laszlo’s annoyance, saying: “The manager was frustrated with the goals we lost but he told us that we showed what we are capable during the second half.

“We did play a lot better in the second half so we are really disappointed to have lost four goals.

“You can’t give teams like Aberdeen any sort of opportunity but we did that.

“We gave them a couple of goals from nothing, really.

“When you get a goal back like that you have to sit tight and make sure that you don’t concede for the next wee while and get yourself back in the game.

“We did the opposite to that.

“We do need to analyse where we are losing goals from.

“There were a couple of slack moments and you can’t afford to do that against a team like Aberdeen.”

Meanwhile, United playmaker Scott Fraser has moved closer to a comeback.

The Tannadice midfielder, who had surgery to repair his fractured foot and was expected to miss the rest of the season, yesterday Tweeted a picture of his foot free of its protective boot along with the message: “The relief of getting a cast off!! Getting there now.”