Robbie Neilson puts Scottish Cup quarter final on back-burner

Dundee United head coach Robbie Neilson is pleased his side secured a quarter final place in the Scottish Cup, but is keen to ensure it does not detract from upcoming league matches.

United secured their place in the next round with a 2-1 win against Scottish Premiership side St Mirren at the weekend and the draw has given them a home tie against the winner of the replay between Ross County and Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Neilson is naturally pleased to progress but says that the focus is on the next games in the league.

“It’s a decent draw for us, but it is a while away yet and it’s the start of next month, so we need to focus on the games before that.

“We’ve got three coming up, so it is great to get through and the excitement for the fans with a home game, but it is on the back-burner now.”

Dundee United had taken a two-goal lead in the game before midfielder Calum Butcher was sent off for a high challenge in the middle of the park. St Mirren got a goal back, but 10 man United held firm to secure their place in the quarter finals. For the United head coach, it shows his team can mix it up to ensure victory.

“I think on Saturday at St Mirren they showed both sides of it,” he said.

“I think that the first-half, first 50 minutes, we played very well, and we were controlling the game.

“Then we went down to 10 men and it was kind of backs to the wall, but you have to do that.

“I spoke to them after the game and said that there are different ways of winning football matches.

“We showed that we can lead but we also showed that we could hang on, camp in and put our bodies on the line.”

Neilson had been unhappy with decision taken by referee Willie Collum in the game at the weekend, particularly the decision not to show a red card to St Mirren skipper Paul McGinn for a challenge on Cammy Smith. However, he refused to be drawn into making any further comments on the referee’s decisions in the game.

“To be honest I think everyone that saw the game on the TV at night will agree with what I said,” he said.

“It was a straight red card, the referees not seen it, but to be honest it wastes my energy now talking about it.

“The focus now for us is Saturday nothing can be done about it, so we move on.”

United face a trip to Dumfries at the weekend to take on Queen of the South and, with an almost full squad to chose from, Neilson is looking forward to the challenge of taking on Stephen Dobbie and company.

“I am looking forward to it,” he said.

“They are a good team, they’ve being doing well.

“They had a difficult result up at Pittodrie at the weekend but that is a tough place to go and we know they have got a lot of threats.

“I think everyone will agree probably Stephen Dobbie is one of the biggest threats in the league and he is one we need to take care of, but they’ve also got some quality in their team and some good energy.”

The United boss expects to have a full squad to choose from with the exception of Stewart Murdoch who has recently returned to full training.

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