Riku Riski on mission to help Dundee United beat drop

New Dundee United loan signing Riku Riski believes he can bring a different dimension to the struggling Tannadice club's attack. Picture: SNS
New Dundee United loan signing Riku Riski believes he can bring a different dimension to the struggling Tannadice club's attack. Picture: SNS
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Riku Riski has vowed to prove Rosenborg wrong for telling him to go by keeping Dundee United in the top flight.

The 26-times capped Finland forward has joined Mixu Paatelainen’s relegation-threatened side on loan until the end of the season after Norwegian outfit Rosenborg informed him he would be better seeking pastures new.

Riski links up again with Paatelainen whom he knows from the Finnish international team as well as domestically back home, and is aiming to make his first start for United when they welcome champions Celtic to Tannadice on Friday night.

The 26-year-old, who came off the bench in last weekend’s Scottish Cup win away to Airdrie United, admits being shown the door by Rosenborg is spurring him on in his quest to help United climb to safety.

Riski said: “It all happened so quickly for me. I was in Norway getting ready for the new season when the club told me – quite directly – that they wanted me to look for something else.

“It was a bit of a surprise to me that they had other plans for me. Last season I didn’t find playing as a winger very comfortable and so I went out on loan in Sweden [to Gothenburg]. I returned to prove them wrong but they had other plans.

“I want to play as much as I can and I want to keep my position in the international team. It was a challenge for me and my agent to find something and then we heard from Dundee United and the deal was done.

“Am I fuelled by a desire to prove Rosenborg wrong? Yes, maybe a little but my main focus is on the team and getting them safe. But when it comes down to personal things like that then yes, of course, I want to prove them wrong.

“But this is new challenge and my focus is 100 per cent on Dundee United. I am here until the end of the season and then I have 18 months left at Rosenborg. We will see how this goes and then see what happens.”

Riski is thrilled to have joined forces with fellow countryman Paatelainen once more and rates the straight-talking Finn highly. He added: “Yes, he’s always been direct. He’s hard but fair. I’ve played under some good coaches and Mixu is up there with them.

“I know Mixu very well, I know his preferred tactics. I know him as a hard-working guy and I know what he wants. And I think I can deliver what we wants. He wants me to play my game, which is direct, getting in behind defences, challenging for the ball, getting shots in – and hopefully scoring some goals and creating assists. I hope to bring a different energy up front for Dundee United.”