Well after last week’s preview which got me pelters from all directions for being too pessimistic (although I have to point out that it was all warranted given the eventual performance!) I’ve decided to be more optimistic this week about the trip to Easter Road! So I’ll leave the story byeline as my only point of pessimism!
Last season was the first since the 1970s when United have gathered full points on league trips to both Easter Road and Tynecastle, a remarkable statistic when you consider the success of the eighties in particular. We’ve already been soundly beaten at Tynecastle, so what chance success on Saturday?
Well strange as it may seem I reckon a good one! There’s not the pressure of not having won a home league game yet (see my forthcoming preview of the Livingston game for more about that!) and United’s fans are generally noisier away from home than at Tannadice, although whether a large number are prepared to fork out the £20 admission price set by Hibs for this game is another matter. Look out for a large queue of old-looking teenagers at the £10 gate I reckon!
The prices charged by some clubs for away fans is a scandal, and to expect fans to travel from Dundee and then fork out £20 is one of the reasons crowds are falling. The Hearts fans have voted with their feet recently by not going to the Edinburgh derby, but unfortunately, this protest seems to have fallen on deaf ears in the Easter Road Boardroom.
What of the team selection for Saturday?
Well Alan Smart has made a quicker than expected recovery from his ligament damage and might just make the team – I would play him up front with Thommo as I was quite impressed by this pairing the last time it was employed. This would allow Charlie to stay in midfield, a role he is far better at than this daft “supporting the sole striker” one that Smith has dreamt up for him.
I can’t see Smith removing his favourite defender Lauchlan however, and would be surprised if he doesn’t stick to using McCracken with him at the back.
Hopefully Easton will be restored to a central midfield position – it was simply criminal to have him playing on the left last week, and those who slated his performance would do well to consider where he was being asked to play. O’Donnell didn’t do anything special against the Huns, but then nobody else did either, so I see no reason for him to lose his place in the starting eleven.
Well I said I’d be optimistic so I’ll go for a shock 4-1 United win, though I can’t for the life of me think who’s going to score the goals!