John Brown defends Rab Douglas Dundee derby call

Dundee manager John Brown has insisted his decision to keep Rab Douglas out of tomorrow’s derby is correct, claiming he had no option but to replace the goalkeeper.

Brown hit back last night at rumours that former Celtic and Scotland keeper Douglas had been shown the door after an apparent bust-up ahead of this weekend’s clash with city rivals Dundee United at Tannadice.

Brown snapped up former England under-21 goalkeeper Steve Simonsen on Thursday and he is set for a baptism of fire against United as Douglas continues to struggle with a thigh injury. And the Dens Park manager is adamant he couldn’t risk Douglas as his bottom-placed side fight to stay in the SPL.

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Brown said: “The situation is, big Rab in the last two games has done a great job despite being handicapped. He’s only been 50 per cent fit for us. He got injured against St Mirren last midweek and couldn’t kick the ball after that.

“Rab has been restricted by not being able to take back-passes and couldn’t take goal-kicks, so could only throw the ball. I had to address that and bring in a goalkeeper for the sake of Dundee FC going into this weekend’s game.

“Rab Douglas has been outstanding and we’ve picked up four points in the last two games since he’s been injured.

“For everything that’s been said out there, Rab is a big part of this club now and into the future. I’ve brought in another keeper because of the injury situation. He’s not trained this week. He’s struggling with his thigh and I’ve got to take a team to Tannadice and try to win a game which Dundee haven’t won in a number of years to get three points to help us survive in this division.”

Brown has challenged Douglas to regain full fitness in the next fortnight. He said: “It’s totally a footballing decision. Big Rab, over the years, has played a big part at this club and I don’t want anyone tainting that. I spoke to Rab in the morning. You could see he’s hurting but I have to make a decision. Do I play a keeper who can’t kick the ball out and can’t take back-passes? It just pins us back. So I’ve brought in another keeper which takes a bit of pressure off Rab.”

United manager Jackie McNamara has injury problems of his own and may have to throw some youngsters in tomorrow as he faces the prospect of being without six first-team players.

Suspended midfielders John Rankin and Willo Flood have joined long-term injury victims Johnny Russell and Gavin Gunning on the sidelines. And captain Jon Daly and defender Brian McLean are both struggling to make the match.

McNamara said: “It’s not looking great squad-wise for the derby. A couple of youngsters could be thrown in because of that.

“We are looking to guys to do a job when they have not had a lot of football, not just in the last few weeks but in a number of months. I always look on the positive side of things, though. This is a chance for players to go and show me they deserve a place in the team.”