JACKIE McNamara admitted he was relieved to finally put his much-anticipated return to Firhill behind him last night as his Dundee United side settled for a point in the Scottish Premiership opener against Partick Thistle.
Ever since the Canadian computer company who compile the Scottish football fixtures determined that McNamara would face his former club in the first game of the new season, there had been intense interest in how he would be received following his acrimonious move to United in January.
“I’m glad to get it out of the road,” said McNamara after a 0-0 draw during which he was subjected to sporadic rather than sustained abuse from the home support.
“There’s been a big build-up to it ever since the wee guy in Canada picked the fixture.
“I was delighted to come back here, regardless of all the stuff surrounding it. I was just disappointed not to get the three points.
“I felt fine walking through the front door and even walking to the dug-out with the United fans in the stand behind it.
“Everything that I’ve done, I wouldn’t change anything. I’m delighted to be where I am and I want to try and be a success at United.”
McNamara felt his team had enough opportunities to take all three points and will look for them to sharpen up their work in the coming weeks.
“I think we created enough chances but needed to be more clinical,” he said. “We were a bit sloppy in the final third at times, with the weight of pass or decision making. Partick passed the ball well at times and caused us a few problems. It could have gone either way and on reflection it is probably a fair result.”
Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald was satisfied with a point on his club’s top flight return but unhappy that United defender Calum Butcher was not sent off for a two-footed challenge on Gary Fraser in the
“By the letter of the law, it was a red card,” insisted Archibald. “But I’ve made some of those tackles myself so I’m not going to moan about it.
“We had a grievance about it because it was probably a red card. James Craigen picked up a booking in the first half that was a nonsense – then they got away with that at the other end.”
McNamara disagreed with his former captain, saying: “There were two challenges on our players, on Ryan Dow and Paul Paton who were caught late, which were similar. It got a bit heated at that point, even on the benches. It infuriated me that it was similar but only Calum got penalised.”
Archibald took encouragement from his team’s display as he focuses on his sole aim of top-flight survival this season. “I’m not saying we’ll be comfortable in this league but we matched Dundee United tonight,” he said “That was a big test for us. But if we do our jobs, like we did tonight, we’ll be okay. That point will give us a lift for the rest of the season.”