Dundee United can beat anyone with ‘man mountain’ Paul Paton

Paul Paton with team-mate John Rankin after Saturday's win over Ross County. Picture: SNS
Paul Paton with team-mate John Rankin after Saturday's win over Ross County. Picture: SNS
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Dundee United striker Billy McKay feels they can beat anyone with Paul Paton in their side.

The midfielder has scored in consecutive victories over Hearts and Ross County as the Ladbrokes Premiership bottom club revived their flagging hopes of survival.

United have won more games (five) in the eight weeks Paton has been back in the team following knee surgery than they did during his nine-month lay-off.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s visit of Aberdeen, McKay said: “He’s been massive. The results have changed when he’s come into the team.

“I have played against him before and I know what type of player he is. He plays full on in every game and puts 100 per cent passion into every game. You need that in the situation we are in.

“He has come in and been brilliant and obviously chipped in with a few goals. When you have him on your side, no matter what game it is, you feel you have a chance of winning it.”

Manager Mixu Paatelainen echoed McKay’s thoughts on the influence of the 28-year-old midfielder.

“Massive,” Paatelainen said. “Absolute man mountain. The way he talks, the way he carries himself on and off the pitch, he really boosts players’ confidence around him.

“On the pitch we all know he’s a ball-winner, he’s a match-winner. He is so full-hearted. He has been very, very important and we want to make sure he stays fit.”

McKay admits confidence was a major problem earlier in the season but 10 points from five games, and the wins over Hearts and Ross County especially, have given the team a huge morale boost.

The Northern Ireland striker said: “I think there is a belief. We have beaten teams in the top six so we feel we can go anywhere and get a result.

“We don’t have Celtic to play again and we feel we can beat any other team in the league.

“If you look at our recent performances before we went on this run, they were very good. But we just have a belief about us now.

“We got that first win and it snowballed on from there. Obviously we had a poor result in the middle against Motherwell but from that we had a great reaction with two wins.

“It’s just a bit of belief in the changing room that we can do it and with the points (deficit) coming down and down, it’s going to help that belief.

“We’ve got a young squad and when you start losing a few games you lose a bit of confidence. But you can see the ability of the players in training and it’s just about showing it on the pitch.

“We have been doing that lately and if we carry on doing that I’m sure we will be all right.”

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