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Experience the key if Dundee United want a great escape

| 27.01.2016

A lot can change in a week, and that was very much the case recently for Dundee United and their loyal Arabs in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

A week last Friday Celtic came to Tannadice and casually knocked four goals past a hapless United, ensuring Mixu Paatelainen’s side’s run of one win in 19 games extended to 20.

Eight days later however, and the mood around the terraces was very different as The Terrors put five past Kilmarnock to claim a much-needed third victory of the season.

The win saw United close the gap to Killie to 11 points, and Paatelainen’s men still have a game in hand.

Ladbrokes still have the orange half of Dundee as 1/9 favourites to finish bottom, but the experience within the United squad suggests they won’t go without a fight.

Eiji Kawashima can boast two World Cups under his belt, and despite a couple of early errors, the 32-year-old goalie should be finding consistency as the season goes on.

In front of the Japanese international in Saturday’s win were Sean Dillon and Gavin Gunning, who can boast over 400 professional appearances between them.

The midfield didn’t lack for experience either with SPFL veteran Paul Paton and former Borussia Dortmund and West Ham man Guy Demel running the show in the middle.

And there was no lack of nous upfront with loan-signing Billy McKay no stranger to Scottish shores after more than 120 appearances and 54 goals for Inverness.

Indeed Saturday’s first-team featured just one player from United’s youth academy, and that was 24-year-old Ryan Dow, now very much a seasoned pro with over 100 professional appearances.

Even the bench included plenty of know-how, with Finland international Riku Riski and ex-Queen of the South regular Mark Durnan both getting game time on Saturday.

It’s clear then that Paatelainen is putting his faith in experience in his battle to keep Dundee in the Ladbrokes Premiership, and on Saturday at least that strategy paid off handsomely.

The Terrors are 21/10 to win away at Partick Thistle this weekend, and with a morale-boosting win under their belt, this group of wise men might just keep United in contention for a while yet.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Richard Marsh

Richard loves his sport, especially if it involves the sound of tyres screaming around a race track. He's not fussy though and his '90s Premier League nostalgia and knowledge of team nicknames is tough to match.