United need to be ready for Morton

Dundee United manager Ray McKinnon expects Morton to come to Tannadice with a “cup-tie” approach but has urged his side to keep control of the game and show patience.

United lead 2-1 going into the second leg of the Ladbrokes Premiership play-off quarter-final and McKinnon knows his side do not need to chase the game on Friday night.

However, he realises that Morton might need to throw caution to the wind when the teams meet for the third time in seven days.

“Friday night’s going to be a different game,” he said. “It will be played in a cup-tie manner. Morton have nothing to lose and will come and have a real go, so we have to be very wary of them and make sure we are very disciplined and organised.

“We want to control the ball throughout the middle of the park. I thought we did that really well for long periods at Morton.

“I think that’s the key, if we can control these areas, keep control of the ball and play our game. It’s not about going out desperately seeking a goal, it’s about playing the game and when the chances arise hopefully taking them.

“We have created a lot of chances in the last six, seven games and if we can keep creating and get a wee bit of luck in front of goal, then hopefully things will take care of themselves.”

United are one match into what they hope will be a six-game campaign to regain their Premiership status and McKinnon has taken advice from experienced players in a bid to make sure they retain their sharpness.

The former Brechin boss, who lost at this stage last season to Hibernian with Raith Rovers, said: “Some of the players have been through this. I have been through parts of it, Tony Andreu went the whole way, Cammy Bell went through the whole way.

“A nd we have taken some advice because they have different experiences of getting to the final and we have taken on board exactly how they feel to be a player that has come through that process and how draining it can be if you don’t get it right.

“It is very demanding and it is certainly weighted in favour of the Premiership club, we understand that.

“As soon as the game was finished on Tuesday night we set about the recovery for the players. They all had to go into a cool-down, they had to eat before we left, they had to drink the right stuff.

“Everything is geared for the match. There are no fitness issues with this squad, I think they proved that on Tuesday night.”

Morton boss Jim Duffy admitted his players were struggling in the final stages on Tuesday but is sure they will not fall short in commitment.

He told the club’s website: “The players were dead on their feet in the last 20 minutes. Dundee United had a grip on the grip of the game. They are strong, have good players – Willo Flood, (Wato) Kuate and Tony Andreu are top-class players.

“But we never gave in, even though they were tired and gritting their teeth and running back and working hard trying to stay in the tie.

“It wasn’t perfect, but it’s 2-1 and away goals don’t count in this format so if we get a goal back we’re back level.”

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