Dundee United head coach Tam Courts is motivated to reward fans with a trip to Hampden after the club rallied supporters to fill Tannadice for the Scottish Cup tie with Celtic.
United have retained three sides of the ground for their own supporters for Monday’s quarter-final rather than to also give Celtic fans the ‘Shed’ behind the goal as normal.
Plans for cut-price tickets were knocked back by Celtic but United hope to get their ground three-quarters full of tangerine to drive the team on to Hampden.
Courts told DUTV: “We know that there was a real motivation from the club to retain as many tickets as possible for Dundee United fans.
“We did also know that we weren’t in full control of the ticket pricing. So we were always running a risk where we create some empty seats.
“But by the same token the club have a lot of faith in the fan base, whether that’s home, away, cup or league, that they give us absolute backing when they can.
“We understand that it’s obviously an expense and we as a team and a football club have to look to put on a performance for the fans and target taking them to Hampden. That’s the ultimate incentive.
“It’s a huge game, we are not favourites, we are up against one of the best teams in the league, in great form. But also it’s a team we have fared reasonably well against from a performance perspective and a game plan perspective.
“We are playing knockout football, the tie will be won or lost on Monday night and we are at this stage of the competition because we deserve it, and we are motivated to progress.
“We know it’s going to be a tough ask but the incentive to take the fans and this football club to Hampden, the motivation doesn’t get any bigger than that.”
United drew at Celtic Park earlier in the season and were seconds away from getting another point there in January.
They have also been boosted by the extra time to prepare for the contest, although Peter Pawlett will miss out after being pencilled in for Achilles surgery.
Courts said: “When the draw was made I would be lying if I said I wanted to play on a Monday night.
“But once you get your head around that and you understand that it’s at home, under the lights, the club have retained the Shed, and we are going to be supported by a really big following against a top team, it just whets your appetite.
“The players got one extra day off, which has probably helped us after a really busy spell.
“If you look at the number of players we have used, we have probably over-relied at times on a core group of players.
“So to be able to reward them with an extra bit of time off, to repair their bodies, refresh them mentally, and when I see what we got back on the training pitch during the week, naturally you feel quite excited.
“We have had a bit of good news on the injury front with Charlie Mulgrew coming back, Ryan (Edwards) broke his nose but is training completely fine, Dylan Levitt is back on the training pitch, Tony Watt we are still monitoring pretty closely because it’s a sensitive area of his leg.”
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