Youngsters impress in Dundee United’s first game of pre-season

© SNSRobbie Neilson.
Robbie Neilson.

Robbie Neilson thought some of his Dundee United youngsters caught the eye in Saturday’s first pre-season game against East Fife.

And Tangerines’ supporters can expect to see more of them in the next few weeks.

Neilson played different sides in the two halves of the 1-1 draw in Methil, giving opportunities to the likes of Scott Banks, Declan Glass, Logan Chalmers, Chris Mochrie and Louis Appere.

Banks, who enjoyed a successful loan spell with Clyde last season, impressed in the first period, twice coming close to scoring.

And after the break Appere set-up Nicky Clark for United’s equaliser.

“All the younger ones did well,” said Neilson.

“Mochrie and (Lewis) Neilson have just started full-time with us. Banks, Chalmers, Oppere, (Ross) Graham and Glass have been about for a bit longer but the game was an opportunity for them as well.

“We’ll look to keep them involved for the rest of pre-season.”

Neilson expected his team to be ring-rusty and so it proved. But the match gave him everything he wanted.

“I was pleased with it,” said the Tannadice boss.

“We had a tough double session the day before and it was just about blowing the cobwebs away.

“I thought we played some alright stuff. We were a wee bit slack here and there but that’s to be expected in these games.

“Everybody got the minutes we wanted and we didn’t pick up any injuries.

“The players have had a tough week and it will be the same next week.

“It will be 75 minutes for the players who start on Friday (against Brechin) and we’ll flip it for the game on Saturday (at Dumbarton).”

East Fife’s opener was a Liam Smith own goal from an inswinging Scott Agnew corner. That apart, it was a solid debut for the former Ayr United full-back.

“He’s a good player,” said Neilson. “Defensively and going forward. He makes good decisions.”

United are having to show patience to make further signings, with Neilson saying: “It’s quiet just now. There’s a bit of a lull.

“The English teams aren’t back yet. After they start up again the market moves about a bit.”

The early signs for East Fife, meanwhile, are positive.

Deniz Mehmet, who played for the Fifers against Albion Rovers in midweek, was a busy man in the United goal in the second half.

The new signings are fitting in nicely and a couple of the trialists on show are certainly worth another look.

Tony McMinn took the team on Saturday and he reflected: “The main thing at the moment is getting minutes into the players.

“The boys have shown that they are very, very fit and it’s now just about ball work and match sharpness to get us ready for the Betfred Cup.

“Queen of the South will be another good test for us.”

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