Dundee Utd V Hamilton at Tannadice Park : Match Preview

23 April 2016
Dundee Utd V Hamilton - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

John Rankin cites Tottenham as example for Dundee United

Dundee United midfielder John Rankin hopes to take inspiration from Tottenham ahead of a crucial period for the club.

United host Hamilton on Sunday with the game kicking off shortly after nearest rivals Kilmarnock play Inverness in the Highlands.

Rankin is looking for a favour from his former club to prevent Killie extending their eight-point lead over his team at the bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership.

But he believes they could take a major boost into their game if Inverness get a result, just like Spurs did 24 hours after Barclays Premier League leaders Leicester were held by West Ham.

Rankin was impressed with the way Tottenham went about their business in their 4-0 win at Stoke on Monday night and believes that is the benchmark for playing when the points are so crucial.

"Kilmarnock play the next two games before us because we play Sunday and Monday so we will know their results before our game," he said.

"You have got to take inspiration, I know it's a different level entirely, but if you look at Tottenham the other night, after what happened to Leicester the day before, how much of a boost that gave them.

"It was a joy to watch and it looked as if there was no pressure on them whatsoever, albeit it's a different scale and scenario to us, because they are at top of the league and we are at the bottom.

"But we need to take inspiration from somewhere and if it's Tottenham, you saw the pressure that was on them where they had to go and get three points, then that's what we need to do.

"It's not something we wanted but we are relying on other teams now and we need Inverness to do us a favour."

Defender Coll Donaldson is a doubt after suffering a hamstring injury last weekend.

Fellow centre-back Mark Durnan returns to the squad after serving a William Hill Scottish Cup suspension and missing the semi-final against Hibernian.

Midfielder Paul Paton (knee) will continue playing through the pain barrier.

Martin Canning takes confidence from previous jousts with Dundee United this season as he prepares Hamilton for the trip to Tannadice.

The New Douglas Park side's 4-0 home win over United last August is considered by the Accies player/manager to "probably" be his team's best performance so far.

Hamilton then came back from a goal down on Tayside in November to win 2-1 and with the teams fighting out a goalless draw in Lanarkshire in February, it renders Accies unbeaten against the league's bottom side.

To add to their woes, United, who are 12 points behind 10th-placed Hamilton with five games remaining, were knocked out of the Scottish Cup semi-final on penalties by Hibernian.

"We have been up there and won this season so hopefully we can go and do it again," Canning told Press Association Sport.

"That (performance) should give us the belief we can win. Dundee United will approach the game the same way as us.

"They lost at the weekend but we can't affect what happens with other teams. We have to focus on ourselves and we will be going all out to win the game."

Hamilton go into the match on the back of a morale-boosting 2-1 home win over Dundee in their last outing where they survived a late comeback by the Dens Park men after taking a two-goal lead, an advantage that Canning wants his side to enjoy again before the end of the campaign.

"The second goal is crucial," he said.

"There have been points in the season where we have been very good at periods in the game but the pleasing thing about the Dundee game is that we managed to get the second goal and give us that little bit of breathing space.

"In games in the past we have been 1-0 up, been pretty comfortable, controlling the game and then concede a goal and end up dropping points or losing the game.

"The second goal gives us that cushion."

Darren Lyon is a doubt as the 20-year-old midfielder is struggling with a stomach problem which has kept him out of the last two matches.

Midfielder Grant Gillespie returns from a two-match suspension.

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