Why Hibs tale means Dundee United's Marc McNulty has score to settle as he discusses Reading future

Marc McNulty scored twice for Dundee United against Aberdeen.Marc McNulty scored twice for Dundee United against Aberdeen.
Marc McNulty scored twice for Dundee United against Aberdeen.
Marc McNulty has some unfinished business with the Scottish Cup, for he ought to have been at Hampden before now.

The Reading loanee put in one of his best performances of the season as the Tangerines defeated Aberdeen 3-0 at Pittodrie to reach the semi-finals of the competition, scoring twice and causing the Dons defence all sorts of problems with his movement.

While the victory sealed a last-four place, it also scratched an itch for McNulty, for he was denied a chance to play at Hampden in last season’s Scottish Cup due to the coronavirus pandemic ending the campaign early.

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Hibs were due to play Hearts in April 2020 after knocking out Inverness in the quarter-finals, but that tie was delayed to October, by which point McNulty’s loan spell at Easter Road had expired, he had returned to Berkshire and then agreed a move to United.

McNulty was forced to watch the Edinburgh derby tie on television – Hearts won 2-1 – but now he will have his own chance to play at the national stadium after United’s heroics.

“That has been something I have been thinking about,” McNulty smiled when asked about missing that particular match. “It was difficult watching it but the world has been a bit mad and these things happen. It is special for me to go to Hampden and it is something I am looking forward to.

"We knew what was at stake because we had been talking about it all week. It was the perfect day. We defended well, everybody worked hard, we got a couple of goals and everything just went our way.

“The gaffer [Micky Mellon] is always on about defending from the front and our midfield three working hard and defending the wide areas. The fitness coach said our stats for the boys were through the roof. It goes to show if you work hard then you get your rewards.”

McNulty, who has had the privilege of playing at Wembley while at Coventry City back in 2018, can’t wait to walk out at Scotland’s equivalent. “It is something not a lot of people in their career will get to go and do,” the former Sheffield United forward continued. “I appreciate that trip to go and play in the national stadium. It is something a lot of the boys haven’t done and might never do it again. We will enjoy the day, go there confident and we will see what happens.”

The 28-year-old still has another year of his contract to run at Reading and has spent the best part of each of the past three seasons on loan in Scotland. While clearly out of the picture under current Royals manager Veljko Paunovic, he is unsure what the future holds for him.

“I have not spoken to anyone there so far,” added McNulty. “I will just be waiting for a phone call or an email to let me know when pre-season is. I just need to wait and see when pre-season is and I will take it from there.”

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