Scott McDonald tips Dundee United to capitalise on O'Dea ban

Scott McDonald is hoping Dundee United can capitalise on the absence of Dundee captain Darren O'Dea when the sides meet in the last 16 of the Betfred Cup at Dens Park this evening.

Scott McDonald, left, with Paul McMullan after Dundee United's win on penalties against Dundee in the Betfred Cup group match. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS
Scott McDonald, left, with Paul McMullan after Dundee United's win on penalties against Dundee in the Betfred Cup group match. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS
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The former Australian international joined Ray McKinnon’s side in the summer and is in line to start tonight after coming off the bench when the derby rivals met in the group stage of the competition last month.

McDonald was a team-mate of O’Dea’s at Celtic and knows Dundee will miss the defender but he still rates the home side as favourites.

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“It’s at their ground so you would have to say they’re still favourites,” McDonald said. “They’ve got a good accomplished squad, albeit they had a disappointing result at the weekend against Ross County in the league [losing 2-1]. They will want to put that right so it will be a tough game.

“I know Darren O’Dea, my friend, is out suspended so that will be a big loss for them. So maybe we can capitalise on that. Who knows what their back-four is going to be like?”

The Betfred Cup group game between the sides ended 1-1 at Dens Park but United went on to win on penalties and top Group C.

“It was a real ding-dong game the first time round. Dundee started really well and came out of the blocks flying,” McDonald said.

“Then we came into the game and nicked the goal before half-time which was great to put us in the ascendancy. Then they came out again for a wee bit before we hit back.”

McDonald has experience of Old Firm games and once scored a winner for Celtic at Ibrox but he was impressed by the passion on show at Dens Park.

“It really opened my eyes, the first game,” he said. “You can watch from afar but until you’re involved in it and realise how big a city this is and how passionate it is, it’s just fantastic to be part of.

“It’s two big teams. No matter if it was just penalties you won on, the bragging rights are a massive thing when you go home.”