Dundee return ideal scenario for Peter Houston
Peter Houston last night admitted he would relish city rivals Dundee returning to the Scottish Premier League.
The Dundee United manager, who is preparing to lead his side in the short trip across to Dens Park for tomorrow’s eagerly-awaited Dundee derby, knows having the Dark Blues back in the top flight after a seven-year exile would be good news for the Tannadice club who hope this weekend’s showdown doesn’t prove to be a one-off.
Almost 9,000 tickets have already been sold for the friendly fixture and, should Dundee be chosen to replace crisis club Rangers for the start of next season, Houston insists it would be the ideal scenario in the wake of the Ibrox side’s demotion.
Houston said: “It just shows you what a derby match means to the supporters.
“Saturday’s attendance is going to prove that and the fact we haven’t had one for so long has added obvious spice. The last time we played them at Tannadice was to open the floodlights three years ago and there was a nice wee crowd that night.
“But it wasn’t the 8,500 or so as we’re expecting on Saturday even though there was still a great atmosphere which I remember well. I was assistant manager back then and that was the only Dundee derby I’ve been involved in to date.
“For a few years now United fans have been looking forward to a derby match so to think that they might become regular next season is great. From what I’m told they’re great occasions. I’ve been involved in Edinburgh derbies as the Hearts assistant manager so know how passionate they are. But I’m told the Dundee derby is every bit as passionate if not even more so.
“If it’s Dundee who do come up, then financially it would be very good for us.
“From a Dundee United point of view, it’s what we want as we know we’re going to fill our ground and the same goes for Dens Park. And I mean that with no disrespect to Dunfermline. We’re then meant to play them three weeks later and although we’re looking forward to Saturday, I would obviously still want the league game more.
“But whichever way you look at it, it’s exactly the kind of competitive game we need to help us build up to the new season.”
United are gearing up for their third successive Europa League bid in early August and Houston has joined the chorus of calls for the Rangers situation to be resolved. He said: “At this stage you just want clarity. The season is about to start in a few weeks’ time so are we going to play when we’re supposed to be playing or are there new fixtures going to be drawn up? It’s time we all started to talk about football again.
“I’m starting to focus on the start of the new season for Dundee United and we’ve got a European tie to focus on very soon as well as the Hibs game on the opening weekend of the campaign, when we’re hoping to get off to a better start than we did last year. I think any board of directors in the SPL will want to know what is happening with regards to budgets etc.”
Houston has also given his backing to plans for league reconstruction which are set to take effect from the start of season 2013. He said: “I’ve never been against expansion of the league. It’s been a hard shift for clubs who’ve gone down in the past and haven’t been able to get straight back up to the SPL. If it happens, I think it will be exciting because there are a lot of good clubs out there and there would be a freshness.”
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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