DUNDEE United skipper Jon Daly last night spoke of his shock over Peter Houston’s abrupt Tannadice departure – then insisted they won’t let it deflect from their bid to surge up the SPL table.
Daly was busy rallying the troops yesterday ahead of tonight’s crunch clash away to Motherwell after Houston said his final goodbyes to the players at their St Andrews training base after six years at the helm.
Houston recently turned down an offer to extend his contract and planned to remain in charge until the end of the season, but he left much sooner having agreed to leave by mutual consent with chairman Stephen Thompson. Tannadice legend Paul Hegarty and youth coach Stevie Campbell will take temporary charge for tonight’s trip to Fir Park before Steven Pressley is expected to be unveiled as Houston’s successor later this week.
Captain Daly, who is also out of contract in the summer, admitted Houston’s exit came quicker than he had imagined, although he is determined they won’t let if affect them.
Daly said: “It was a surprise the manager went so soon to be honest. It has happened quicker than we all thought it would.
“We knew he was leaving in the summer but he came in this morning and told all the lads that he was on his way.
“Things have obviously been happening behind the scenes recently. But we are a professional group of players and we have a huge game against Motherwell so everyone is focused 100 per cent on that.The manager came in, told the boys what was happening, and said his goodbyes. That was it. We then just got ready for training as normal and then Heggy and Stevie Campbell took the training session. Once we were out there, everyone just got on with it as we usually do.”
Daly reckons the clash with the Steelmen is the perfect tonic after the whirlwind events in the past 24 hours. He said: “The Motherwell game is huge for us. Our aim is to get into the top six. It’s probably a good thing we’ve got the game so quickly because our minds are on that.
“These things happen in football. You can’t dwell on it and we have a game to look forward to so quickly. We have a good bunch of boys. A lot of the senior ones have been in this position before but it’s probably new to the younger lads, so it’s up to us older ones to make sure their heads are right going into the game. I’m sure it will be and I can’t see it being a problem for us.”
Daly added: “The manager did a great job for the club. He’s left the club in a good position and it’s a good job for whoever takes over.”