Dundee United reject Blackpool’s McNamara advance

Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara. Picture: SNS
Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara. Picture: SNS
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DUNDEE UNITED have rejected an unwelcome approach from Blackpool for manager Jackie McNamara ahead of next week’s Scottish Cup final.

The English Championship club, who avoided relegation on the final day of the season under caretaker boss Barry Ferguson, approached United chairman Stephen Thompson for permission to open talks with ­McNamara over their vacancy.

Thompson refused permission and McNamara, who three months ago signed a new contract at Tannadice which runs until 2017, has confirmed his ongoing commitment to the impressive work he has carried out at the club since his appointment in January 2013.

“While flattered at the ­interest shown, I am very happy at ­Dundee United and wish to ­continue the job and build upon the foundations laid down over the last 18 months or so,” said McNamara.

“I view the approach as a positive endorsement of all the hard work undertaken by everyone at the club in that period and have no plans to leave. All of my focus is on the forthcoming ­William Hill Scottish Cup final and preparations for the new season ahead.”

United face St Johnstone at Celtic Park in eight days’ time, presenting McNamara with an opportunity to win his first piece of major silverware as a manager.

The 40-year-old former Celtic and Scotland player has ­nurtured an attractive style of play at United, placing his faith in a much-lauded crop of young players such as Andrew ­Robertson, Ryan Gauld and ­Stuart Armstrong.

Scouts from English clubs have been closely monitoring the development of United’s emerging talent on the field but Blackpool’s move for McNamara is the first sign of what is likely to be consistent interest from south of the border in the club’s highly regarded manager.

McNamara, who began his managerial career at Partick Thistle where he laid the foundations for their promotion to the top flight last year, has ambitions to work at the highest level in England or Europe eventually.

But, unless an exceptional offer comes along in the shorter term, he is content to try to achieve sustained progress and success with United.

Blackpool have been in ­turmoil since sacking Paul Ince – a former Wolves team-mate of McNamara – in January this year. Former Rangers and

Scotland captain Ferguson took temporary charge but Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston is looking elsewhere for a permanent ­appointment. Dundee United were keen to lay the matter to rest quickly yesterday as they looked to avoid any distractions to their preparations for the Scottish Cup Final.

“Dundee United confirms it has denied Blackpool FC ­permission to speak to manager Jackie McNamara,” read a club statement.

“The manager has been kept aware of the situation and ­declared that he is fully committed to the club and very happy to remain at Dundee United for the foreseeable future. The club will make no further comment on this matter.”

BT Sport Q&A: Rangers | Hibs | Neil Lennon

THIS week’s BT Sport video Q&A looks at whether Rangers fans will buy season tickets and if the club’s supporters will force a change of ownership.

The form of Hibs under Terry Butcher is also examined following the Easter Road side’s derby defeat while the future of Neil Lennon is also considered following the announcement that his assistant Johan Mjallby is to depart at the end of the season.

Email your Scottish football question for the BT Sport panel to answer. The next show will be recorded on May 7 after St Johnstone v Celtic, which will also be shown live on BT Sport, with the video available on The Scotsman website the following day. You can also tweet us @TheScotsman.

A line-up of experts will handle your questions after each BT Sport game. Most match days, the team includes Darrell Currie, Derek Rae and Gary McAllister.

Over this season, BT Sport will air 30 SPFL matches plus 10 Rangers games from the SPFL League One.

• T&C We can not guarantee which presenters will answer your questions. Questions are vetted and no correspondence will be entered into.