Houston proud of battling Dundee
Updated Thursday, 17th March 2011
Dundee United manager Peter Houston praised his stretched squad for keeping their European bid on course despite a hectic spell of matches.
The Tannadice team dug deep to deliver a late 2-0 win over third-placed Hearts on Wednesday night thanks to Johnny Russell's double. After a series of winter postponements, United were playing their fourth game in 10 days but showed a never-say-die spirit to rack up a fourth straight Clydesdale Bank Premier League victory.
Houston said: "I can't praise the boys highly enough for their second-half performance. Instead of them getting tired, they just got stronger. As a team, I think we played really, really well and we worked very hard."
Despite missing the likes of Garry Kenneth, Prince Buaben, Craig Conway and Scott Severin, Houston's men leapfrogged Kilmarnock into fourth place and moved to within 12 points of Hearts, with a game in hand.
"It's incredible, we'll recover on Thursday and get ready to pick a team for Inverness (at home on Saturday)," Houston continued It's a small squad but it's close-knit, you can see how they work for each other.
"I think we deserved our victory, it was a tight game and I always thought the first goal could win it. The biggest thing that pleases me is that we have started the month of March with four victories.
"We mentioned the fact that we had drawn a lot of games and that we had to turn them into three-pointers. They have gone and done it, but I don't know where they get the energy from. They are a credit to themselves and the football club."
Meanwhile, Hearts boss Jim Jefferies hopes his side can end their three-game winless run at home to St Mirren on Saturday to dampen any hopes United may have of catching them.
He added: "A draw would have been a better result for us than them, but Hearts do it the hard way.
"We've still got a cushion but we've got a big game on Saturday. If we can get a win, it can all change again and be a bit more comfortable."