Dundee United struggling ahead of Celtic clash with 4 big first-team stars missing
Dundee United are struggling with squad numbers ahead of tonight’s game with as many as 4 of their big first-team stars missing.
Tam Courts side will face off against the Hoops looking to halt our plans of a title party at Tannadice tonight. United have lost 3 of their 4 meetings with Celtic this season. Our 2 trips to United’s ground have yielded back-to-back 3-0 wins too – something that doesn’t bode well for the Arabs.
And neither does their squad numbers it seems. Peter Pawlett, Marc McNulty, Calum Butcher, and Ian Harkes are all set to miss tonight’s game. Harkes is the only United player to score against Celtic this season.
Pawlett’s campaign has been over since February after playing a regular role in the side up until then. McNulty, meanwhile, has also played his last game this campaign after picking up a knee injury [Daily Record].
Butcher is set to miss tonight’s game due to a personal issue [BT Sport], whilst Harkes hasn’t played since March after suffering an ankle injury.
United boss Courts has stated that he only has 16 players available at the moment, leaving him little room to rotate for tonight’s game [The Scotsman].
Dundee United missing key figures for Celtic visit
Courts would undoubtedly love to have all of the above available for tonight. Not only would it allow him to rotate his squad further, but he would be able to have an element of freshness in his starting XI.
The players listed above could’ve been threats to Celtic tonight. McNulty knows where the goal is whilst Harkes has proven to be an effective box-to-box player for them this season. Let’s also not forget it was his bullet header at Celtic Park back in September that marks their only goal against us this term.
Not having Butcher and Pawlett available is also a blow for Courts given they almost certainly would’ve been involved if available.
United don’t have the luxury of calling up quality back-up players in the same manner that Celtic do. We could be missing 5 or 6 players tonight and still be able to replace them with talents of a similar quality.
Dundee United won’t be able to do that. Not to say they won’t be competitive, but their options will be greatly reduced and will likely lead to more young talents being thrown in at the deep end.
There’s no excuse not to get the job done tonight. United aren’t playing us in their best shape, even if we are close to the end of the campaign.