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Dundee United’s Luc Bollan expecting more fatherly advice after Alloa defeat

Gary Bollan.
Gary Bollan.

Dundee United’s Luc Bollan admitted he was expecting more “harsh but fair” fatherly advice following Saturday’s Irn-Bru Cup defeat to Alloa.

The Tangerines had opted to play their kids in the competition this season with reserve team manager Craig Easton selecting Bollan – the son of former Tannadice favourite Gary – in the heart of defence.

United took the lead in the first half through Matty Smith but were pegged back in the second 45 when the teenage centre-half conceded a penalty with the Wasps Alan Trouten converting the spot-kick.

It was still all square at the final whistle with the part-time side winning the penalty shoot-out 5-4 to send the Tangerines out of the cup.

And Bollan admitted that he was fully prepared for the post-mortem with his dad who has experience both as a player and a manager at a whole host of clubs including Rangers, Wolves, Livingston and his current side Cowdenbeath.

The 18-year-old said: “He comes to watch my games as much as he can and he was there for the Alloa match with my mum.

“After games he gives me advice. He is harsh but fair. He tells me when I need to do better but also says when I am doing well.

“So I will be ready for the post-mortem from him.

“Obviously he has a wealth of experience in football and he is really helpful in situations where I can improve.

“It is great to have my dad as well as Easty and Robbo (Scott Robertson). I have a lot of good people around me to help me.

“I just want to play as much football as I can and as well as I can for the reserves as it is vital to gain experience as a young player.

“I just want to improve and see where it takes me.”

Bollan held his hand up and admitted the penalty awarded against him for a challenge on Alloa’s Dario Zanatta was justified.

He added: “It was a difficult one at the penalty. The ball came in and I tried to clear it but at the last second, their player just stepped across in front of me.

“I probably could have done better and spotted him coming but I was just concentrating on winning the ball.

“I thought it was soft but I can see where the ref was coming from. I had no arguments really as I made contact.

“It is harsh and hurtful not to be in the next round of the cup but we have to take pride in the amount of effort we put in.”

United took the lead in the 15th minute when a Sam Wardrop cross from the right was knocked down into the path of Smith who drilled the ball past Alloa keeper Neil Parry.

There was a double boost for the home side in the second half with two players making their long-awaited returns from injury.

Billy King made his first appearance of the season from the bench in the 64th minute with Fraser Fyvie also coming on shortly after for the first time since December, last year.

However, despite the reinforcements for United, it was Alloa who equalised in the 78th minute as Bollan sent Zanatta tumbling inside the box with referee Greg Aitken pointing to the spot.

Wasps sub Trouten stepped up and made no mistake with his penalty, firing past home keeper Benjamin Siegrist.

Fyvie had a pop from all of 40 yards with a free-kick at the death but Parry saved to send the game into a penalty shoot-out.

Fyvie, Declan Glass, Paul McMullan and Smith all scored their spot-kicks but Parry saved United’s second, taken by Archie Thomas.

That miss proved to be the crucial difference with Alloa successfully converting all of their penalties with skipper Andy Graham netting the final one to send his side through to the next round.

Despite tasting defeat, Bollan admitted the experience of playing against hardened Alloa pros will only help his development.

He said: “It is a totally different ball game.

“It is a wee bit different this season because we are playing reserve football but last year in development games it was all about moving and passing.

“But you saw against Alloa it was proper men’s football where you have to win your own individual battles.

“You have to do the nasty side of the game as well as the pretty side.

“I thought we did that against what was an experienced Alloa side.

“I don’t think we got bullied at all which some people were predicting going into the game because we are so young.”

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