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Dundee United boss Tam Courts tells his players to ‘recruit’ Hearts fans

Celtic v Dundee United – cinch Premiership – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Dundee United head coach Tam Courts will encourage his players to play in a way that “recruits” the Hearts fans at Tynecastle on Saturday.

Courts is looking for his side to continue a six-match unbeaten away run, which includes a 3-0 win at Easter Road and a draw at Celtic Park.

Victory for either side this weekend will send them second in the cinch Premiership and Courts has instilled a confidence and freedom to play in his team no matter the venue.

And he feels his team have the capability of turning the Tynecastle atmosphere against the home team.

Courts said: “The interesting thing about going to these types of venues is they could either be difficult places to play in for the opposition, or they could be difficult for the home team as well.

“The way we are playing football just now, if we establish the level of control that we aim for, then naturally you can almost recruit the home fans, and I think we have done that on a couple of occasions.

“We understand it can be a tricky place to go and perform and get a result, but on the same token the performance and results at Celtic Park and Easter Road have proven we have got the mentality and capability to do that.

“Against Celtic in particular, if you look at their pressing intensity, you can either clear the ball when they counter-press you and then there’s a risk that you lose the ball, or you can actually play under pressure and combine and when you come through the pressure, then naturally space opens up.

“When you go to these types of places, you are asking the players to be brave, to play with a little bit of clarity and also to play in a little bit of pressure and just know that that’s something that I am asking them to do, so if it doesn’t come off then it is essentially on my shoulders.

“That’s the way we train every day, that’s the level of responsibility that we put on the players, and thankfully we have got a number of players that actually like to play football that way.”

Hearts’ unbeaten start to the league season ended at Aberdeen last weekend while United suffered their first Premiership defeat since losing to Robbie Neilson’s team at Tannadice in August.

Courts was more than happy with his side’s second-half display as they came up against an inspired Zander Clark in a 1-0 defeat by St Johnstone and is looking for his players to show the defeat has not derailed their progress.

“It’s two teams who have been in good form who are essentially establishing essentially a new style of play,” Courts said.

“I think we are on a very similar path, both Hearts and Dundee United, but it’s an important three points and performance to bounce back after both teams got beat last week. I think it’s quite an intriguing encounter.”

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