The news that Fraser Fyvie will miss the remainder of the season due to a snapped cruciate ligament will be used by his Dundee United team-mates as extra motivation as they seek to win the Championship and return to top-flight football.
The club was rocked yesterday as it emerged that the injury sustained by the midfielder in last weekend’s win over Livingston had ended his campaign prematurely.
Second-placed United face league leaders St Mirren in Paisley this evening and Tannadice defender Tam Scobbie says he and his team-mates will redouble their efforts to usurp the Saints at the top of the table.
Fyvie, the 24-year-old former Aberdeen and Hibernian midfielder, had been a stand-out for Csaba Laszlo’s side in recent weeks, before being carried off following an innocuous clash with Livingston’s Steven Boyd.
Scobbie said: “Getting into the Premiership has always been the aim and, hopefully, we can now do it for Fraser so he can have a year in the division with us.
“I’m gutted for the boy. He has been brilliant since he came into the club from the first minute he stepped in the door. It looked like a nothing challenge, to have that kind of result is very unfortunate.
“We are going to play against St Mirren and the manager has put it into our heads to do it for Fraser because he was in a great run of form, scoring goals and playing the way people know he should be playing.”
United manager Laszlo knows Fyvie suffered a similar injury with Aberdeen back in 2010 and admits he is anxious about the latest setback.
“I am very unhappy about the situation with Fraser Fyvie,” Laszlo said. “Unfortunately, it looks not so good for him. He has experience with this kind of injury and he will need a minimum of six months to recover from it.
“It is the cruciate and it is an injury disaster. I think that we have lost a very important player, both on the pitch and in the dressing-room.
“I have just had a chat of more than 40 minutes with Fraser just now after hearing the bad scan result. He is a very strong guy and he knows now that he has to fight back. Surgery will be very important but so will the rehabilitation.”
Scobbie know a win tonight would take United above St Mirren but is expecting a tough game. “As a team, we’d love to be sitting top of the league going into the new year,” he said. “It’s going to be a very tough game at St Mirren. It’s two form teams and we’re going to go there confident, although they will be too having turned us over there the last time we went to Paisley.”
Willo Flood is fit again and set to replace Fyvie in midfield.
Tonight’s match is being screened live by BT Sport and St Mirren’s assistant manager James Fowler is delighted the game is being given UK-wide exposure.
“Dundee United coming to our place is a big game in Scottish football this season and the fact that it has its own Friday night slot live on TV increases the profile,” Fowler said. “It is two big clubs battling for the right to be at the top of the table. They have secured good results under Csaba so we know that we have to play well to do anything.”
Adam Eckersley is a doubt for Saints after being injured in Dumfries. Josh Todd and Dale Hilson also remain out.