Dundee United boss Jackie McNamara is backing Brian McLean to help the club get over their injury misery.
Just as the Tangerines appear to have been re-invigorated by the appointment of McNamara and excellent victories over Rangers and Hearts, they have suffered a crushing blow.
Central defender Gavin Gunning’s season is now over after damaging the cartilage in his knee during the win over the Jam Tarts last Saturday.
That is a serious setback as United do battle on two fronts fighting for a top-six place in the SPL and facing a William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final against city rivals Dundee on March 3.
The timing is terrible, too, coming as it does just before the trip to Parkhead to take on a Celtic side that will be desperate to make up for their 3-0 Champions League loss to Italian giants Juventus.
McNamara, though, reacted calmly to the news and is looking to McLean to show that he can fill the considerable gap left by Gunning in the defence when he faces the Hoops.
“Gavin Gunning looks like he’ll be missing for the rest of the season,” confirmed McNamara.
“He came off last Saturday with a knee injury and it looks like he has done cartilage damage. He will probably need an operation so that is a huge disappointment for us because he’s done very well.
“It is a shame for him personally, too, because he has had a good season. We will wait and see where we go from here because Brian McLean did well when he came on against Hearts.
“So we will have to assess what we’re going to do. Brian will be itching to show what he can do and I was pleased with him against Hearts.
“Hopefully, he will be able to carry that on.”
For Jackie McNamara’s thoughts ahead of United’s match with Celtic see Friday’s Courier or try our digital edition.