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Dundee United have quality to thrive in top-flight, says boss Tam Courts

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

Dundee United manager Tam Courts has urged his players to show their top-flight quality as he bluntly decried his predecessor’s mantra.

Courts encouraged his side to believe in themselves and get forward at Celtic Park on Sunday and was rewarded with a point following a 1-1 draw.

United stayed fifth in the cinch Premiership, one point above Celtic, as the promising start to Courts’ reign continued.

And he was quick to declare his ambition when asked whether they should now be looking up the table, former boss Micky Mellon having consistently stressed last season that they were a team who had just come up from the Championship.

“That was the worst narrative ever, because when you look at the quality of these players, most of them were in the Championship because of the size of this football club,” Courts said.

“Last season the players consolidated themselves in the league but there is no doubt there is Premiership quality in this group and they more than showed that at Celtic Park.”

Courts hopes their Parkhead display will give the players further confidence.

“I think it will give the players a little bit of belief that we can go there and survive at times, thrive at times,” he said.

“But I don’t get too high after a performances and results like that.

“In terms of the planning and preparation, we delivered the game plan, we got what we expected in terms of performance, the result is the cherry on the top. But now we have got to try and find a level of consistency so we can do this on a regular basis.”

United secured their point despite being without two key players in former Celtic defender Charlie Mulgrew and fellow Scotland cap Marc McNulty.

Mulgrew’s replacement, 16-year-old Kerr Smith, proved an able deputy as United defended their box well.

“That’s what I have been brought in to do here, to develop not just the young players but the senior players, try to get them performing better, make them more comfortable, create an environment where they produce their best football through feeling happy and content at what we are asking them to do,” Courts said.

“And also, when it’s merited, to give young players an opportunity. Up until this point, three months into the job, we have done that pretty consistently.”