Dundee United’s Chris Erskine last night insisted the Tangerines will do all they can to kill Celtic’s treble dream after the two teams were paired in the last eight of the Scottish Cup.
United will have home advantage over the Hoops in the forthcoming quarter-final, and the luck of yesterday’s draw means that Jackie McNamara’s men will have three massive games against the Glasgow giants in the space of three weeks with the League Cup final and what could be a crucial Premiership fixture scheduled right after the Scottish Cup clash.
All of that effectively means that United now physically stand in the way of Celtic boss Ronny Deila and a historic trophy haul in his first season, but Erskine reckons United have a decent chance of denying them silverware in all three competitions.
“Once a few of the names came out, I thought: ‘This is going to happen.’,” he commented.
“But someone has to beat Celtic if they are going to win the cup and I don’t see why it can’t be us.
“We’re going to be playing them three games in a row which isn’t ideal.
“Us, Celtic and Inverness were the only ones remaining from the top flight so I’m sure we would all have wanted to avoid each other.
“But I’m sure Celtic will be thinking they’d rather not have got us.
“It doesn’t make a huge difference playing the same team three games in a row but it might make things a bit edgy as when you play them again you expect them to do the same things as before.
“That will be up to the managers if they want to change things here and there.
“The League Cup final is obviously a massive game for the club and everyone is looking forward to it.
“So it’s obviously going to be a couple of big weeks for the club and hopefully we can get two victories out of it.
“That would set us up for the rest of the season.”
The midfielder believes all the pressure will now be on Celtic as talk of a treble begins to mount, although Erskine says all United will be focused on is their own particular tilt at silverware this season.
“I think Celtic are always under pressure,” he continued.
“That’s what comes from being a big club and expecting to win things all the time.
“There’s always pressure on them.
“That won’t faze them at all.
“We’re just concentrating on ourselves.
“When we play well we can beat anyone on our day.
“We’ve beaten them already this season which will help.
“We rode our luck a bit at Tannadice that day but got the victory that we deserved.
“So I don’t see why we can’t beat them again in the Scottish Cup.
“We know that when we’re on our game we’re as good as anyone in the league.
“Hopefully on that day we can play well and get the victory.”
Erskine did not feature in last season’s Scottish Cup final but he revealed that United’s defeat to St Johnstone in the May showpiece still rankles with the players at Tannadice.
“A lot of the boys are still hurting after last year’s final,” he added.
“Getting to a final and losing is probably the worst thing that can happen to you.
“I know there’s a massive determination among the squad to go one better this time around.”
Some might say, given what happened between the two clubs and the sale of Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong in the transfer window, that a Scottish Cup meeting between the two was written in the stars.
Maybe so, but Erskine reckons a week is a long time in football and believes both clubs have already moved on from the episode.
“GMS and Stuart have moved on and we just have to move on too without them,” he concluded.
“I’ve not spoken to them since they left although I think a couple of the other boys have.
“I’m just glad they can’t play against us in the cup as they are two good players.
“We’ve got good players who are ready to come in and take their places.”