McNamara looks to defence as he aims to close gap on Inverness

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DUNDEE United manager Jackie McNamara has challenged his side not to give Inverness any added incentive in tonight’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League match.

The Tangerines head north to the Caledonian Stadium knowing a win would take them to within a point of Terry Butcher’s Caley Thistle in their quest to climb the table. United are looking to finish the season with a flurry but McNamara watched his side concede two goals in last Sunday’s 2-2 SPL draw with Hibernian at Tannadice, a game in which United required a late penalty from Johnny Russell to earn a share of the spoils.

And he does not want to see any repeat of slack defending when they head to the Highlands.

McNamara said: “Hopefully we have learned our lesson from that point of view. It’s something we have to work on and have got to do better.

“We were annoyed at the goals which we lost against Hibs but that’s in the past and we have to try and improve on that.”

United have signed Swedish defender Marcus Tornstrand but the 23-year-old free agent will not feature at Inverness as he works to build up his match fitness. Gavin Gunning is sidelined following a knee operation but McNamara has no fresh injury worries.

Inverness manager Terry Butcher, meanwhile, has told McNamara he will soon be “ranting and raving” on the sidelines like him despite his seamless transition to top-flight management.

McNamara displays the same quiet authority as a manager that saw him captain Celtic and become a Scotland regular.

But Butcher insists that such composure cannot last in the heated environment of the Premier League.

Butcher said: “Jackie is great. He was an excellent player and has obviously done very well at Partick Thistle as a manager.

“When you look at Jackie on the sidelines, he just stands there with his arms folded and doesn’t really say a lot.

“I’m sure that will change. I’m sure he will be ranting and raving and screaming and doing everything that we normally do, the rest of the managers,” added Butcher.

His Inverness side are looking to hold on to second spot in the SPL after ending their six-game run without victory with a 3-2 triumph against Hearts on Saturday.

“Having ‘slumped’ to third as many people said, it was nice to rise back up to second,” Butcher said.

Meanwhile, Butcher gave a strong hint that contract talks with some players were set to come to fruition.

He has been trying to persuade the likes of Andrew Shinnie and Gary Warren, who is suspended for the United game, to extend their stays. “Watch this space,” he said. “We will have some good news soon, some very, very good news.

“Hopefully this week will be one of the best weeks of the season and we would like to 
announce one or two things.”