SPFL boss says his side earned Celtic's respect; joins chorus of praise for Hoops

By Euan Davidson

March 11, 2022

Dundee United boss Thomas Courts says his side have earned the respect of Celtic this season, who he described as a “top side” in advance of Monday’s Scottish Cup clash.

Courts is just the latest to offer praise to the Hoops; Marvin Bartley was in awe of his interaction with Ange Postecoglou, while his manager David Martindale sounded his appreciation of Celtic ahead of last Sunday’s Hoops win.

There is a caveat here, though; Courts isn’t going to suggest he’s overawed by the task facing his Dundee United side when Celtic arrive on Monday. Especially given how the Tangerines have battled against the Bhoys so far this season. One of our only goals conceded at home was against Dundee United, while it took a late Liel Abada strike to separate the sides in late January.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Courts said [Courier]: “The two games at Celtic Park were very similar.

“We were very organised and earned Celtic’s respect with the way we used the ball. The game at Tannadice was one where we never played to our full potential with the ball. As a consequence, it became a very tough afternoon.

“Clearly, we know what we need to do and to avoid to impact the game.

“We are up against a top team but are excited about the game and the carrot that is there at the end of it.”

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Celtic v Dundee United clashes have been typically thrilling

In fairness to Courts, he’s right about Dundee United earning the respect of Celtic.

In the early-season encounter, a 1-1 draw, Courts’ side were well-organised, took their best chance well, and frustrated Celtic all afternoon. Admittedly, we got some extremely enjoyable revenge at Tannadice, but they were decent again in their return to Paradise.

Liel Abada’s goal was such a euphoric moment purely because it felt like Dundee United had caused Celtic to drop points again, at home. That we didn’t, has put us in a far stronger position now.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

In his first job in the Scottish top-flight, it’d be hard to argue that Courts hasn’t impressed at Dundee United, especially against teams like Celtic and Rangers. Though they sit 7th, they’re still just one point from 4th place, owing to an extraordinarily tight mid-table [Sky Sports]. At this stage, a couple of wins would represent a fantastic season as a whole. Lose any of their next pre-split games, and they could be in some bother.

It’s Scottish Cup business up next though, in a game that’s already seen a lot of controversy. The scheduling, and Police Scotland’s role in that, saw a stinging response from Terriers owner Mark Ogren.

It’ll be a feisty encounter, for sure. Tactically, though, both managers have respect for each other. Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou knows Dundee United aren’t pushovers in the slightest.

Read more: Celtic sell out another game weeks in advance as supporters gear up for title battle