Tam Courts lauds Ian Harkes after stunner sends Dundee United into last eight

Tam Courts file photo
(Image credit: Steve Welsh)

Dundee United head coach Tam Courts praised Ian Harkes’ brilliant finish as ‘a goal worthy of winning the game’ as his side advanced to the Scottish Cup quarter-finals after a 1-0 win over Partick Thistle.

Harkes’ first-time hit from just outside the box settled the contest in a match the hosts dominated for large periods at Firhill.

Courts said: “The last couple of games we’ve tried to free Ian up to anticipate where these balls are going to land and to give us some energy and athleticism.

“When the ball fell to him at the edge of the box it felt like a very similar situation to Dylan Levitt’s goal during the week against Motherwell.

“It was a really sweet strike and a goal worthy of winning the game.”

Courts was also full of praise for the resilience his side showed on a surface that has been responsible for two recent postponements due to the conditions.

He added: “We anticipated the pitch was going to be tricky and once we arrived we saw how difficult the conditions were and in the first 45 minutes we got caught thinking ‘can we play on this surface or can’t we?’

“The times we did try and play we got caught but the key thing for us is we got the breakthrough, we quickly acclimatised and we saw the job through but it wasn’t a classic by any stretch of the imagination.

“Partick Thistle will maybe feel they had some of the best chances in the game and we looked a bit of a tired team.

“We’ve had eight games in 23 days and we probably looked a bit tired but I am really delighted to get into the next round.

“It’s the stage of the cup competition when it’s just about finding the solutions and we found it with a really good goal taken well by Ian Harkes.

“There’s not a lot to say about what we could have done better tactically or make better decisions – ultimately the pitch dictated that and we would’ve loved to have played better. The fact we are in the next round is really all that matters just now.”

Partick manager Ian McCall felt his dominant side were unfortunate not to progress, insisting they ‘battered’ United at times.

He said: “We were miles, miles better than Dundee United. The pitch is hard, I get that, but we played a lot of football.

“Our midfield were so dominant. We didn’t make a lot of chances in the first half but the goal which was a great strike from Harkes came against the run of play and then in the second half we just battered them.

“But you know it’s ultimately a cup tie and you just want to win and good luck to Dundee United in the quarter-final.”

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