5 Dundee United talking points: Analysing major Tannadice tweaks  as Jim Goodwin insists that …

On Saturday, Dundee United overcame a goal behind to upset Queen’s Park 3-1.

Ruari Paton’s early opener was cancelled out by a brilliant Louis Moult free-kick, a header from close range by Jordan Tillson, and a clinical effort from Glenn Middleton.

Even though it was only their third game at Tannadice, United’s first home victory of 2024 made sure they were still one point ahead of Championship title rivals Raith Rovers.

Learning lessons from Tannadice stalemates

It is impossible to argue that Jim Goodwin did not take something away from United’s most recent performance at Tannadice.

He cut a sorrowful figure after the 0-0 draw with Dunfermline on January 27, lamenting his lack of sharpness and typical shortcomings.

He made the necessary adjustments to his approach and tactics against the Spiders.

As inverted wingers, David Wotherspoon and Mathew Cudjoe were used to cut inside, try to select passes, and locate gaps.

It was a refreshing diversion from the emphasis on width, pace, and early crosses, which has occasionally been a bit one-dimensional when playing at home against dense defences.

Cudjoe was brilliant in the first half, displaying the bravery and audacity required to play in front of a discerning audience. Did everything go according to plan? No. Did he still have the self-assurance to continue producing and probing? Indeed.

Fitness dictated his substitution at the hour mark, marking his first start since December 22.

Louis Moult was well-supported by Tony Watt, and Scott McMann and Miller Thomson made sure the flanks remained a threat.

There was a chance that United may find themselves lacking a centre midfielder, but Craig Sibbald’s exceptional play made sure those worries were unwarranted.

Although they didn’t play as well as they could have—in fact, they weren’t as good as they had against Raith Rovers—netting three goals against a side that hadn’t let up a goal in 285 minutes is still a noteworthy accomplishment.

Miller Thomson was no square peg in round hole

Thomson was a risk-taker when he was chosen for the right-back position, and not just because it was only his second start and ninth appearance overall for the Tangerines.

The 19-year-old has only been portrayed in more sophisticated roles by most Arabs.

He was used in central midfield with freedom to attack, even during his incredibly successful loan stint with Montrose, when he scored three goals and provided two assists.

But Thomson’s outing at full-back was not a hopeful Hail Mary.

In an October Reserves Cup encounter against Dundee, the teenager filled that role the entire time. He has also frequently filled it during United’s shaping and training sessions.

According to Courier Sport, Thomson performed admirably in a February 9 internal friendly at Tannadice, and United’s coaching staff is growing more optimistic that this might be his best position.

Aside from a few positional mistakes and ill-timed leaps, he had a strong performance against Queen’s Park, which was to be expected from a player starting at right-back in their first-ever senior match.

Still, he was recklessly attacking, assured with the ball, and surprisingly powerful in defensive duels. His props posed a significant risk to the hosts.

The wise choice would still be to back the reliable Liam Grimshaw to start most of the remaining games, especially in those where United anticipates playing a lot of defence.

But this was a positive demonstration.

Jack Walton underlines resilience

This week, the modest Jack Walton has found himself in the news a lot more than normal.

In a move that further exacerbated his injuries, he was booked for scything down Jack Hamilton during United’s 2-1 loss to Rovers. The Fife team then exploited the video in a controversial tweet.

After receiving more than 750,000 views, it became contentious and infuriated Goodwin.

Returning to the pitch, he committed an unusual mistake against Queen’s Park, letting go of Louis Longridge’s easy cross into Paton’s path for a tap-in.

With a manager’s smile, Goodwin stated, “Every custodian is allowed one of those a season.” He then watched as his team responded with three goals.

Walton did provide a very good individual reaction, in fact. Just minutes after Paton broke the tie, he abruptly stopped with his legs to block Ben McPherson.

He produced a fantastic diving save to save Dom Thomas’s goal-bound free kick in the second half. It would have been 2-2 as a result.

An unexpectedly strange eight days came to an ultimately rewarding climax for the Luton Town man on loan.

Ross Graham can feel aggrieved

This morning, Graham is going to be sobbing.

The large defender has been outstanding lately, filling in for the injured Declan Gallagher and growing more at ease playing on the right side of a center-back duo with each subsequent game.

On Saturday, though, Gallagher was added back to the starting lineup at Graham’s cost.

It is difficult to make a case against the reinstatement of United’s Gallagher-Kevin Holt axis on a broad scale.

The Tangerines have let up 10 goals, or an average of 0.5 goals per game, in their 20 combined games. United has let up 1.1 goals per game overall.

Nervous wait for David Wotherspoon news

The only cloud cast over the result was an early injury to Wotherspoon.

After barely eight minutes, Wotherspoon, 33, collapsed to the ground with no one nearby, and Kai Fotheringham took his place.

Goodwin later verified that the problem was with the calf.

When the players report for duty on Monday, it will be clearer whether Wotherspoon sensed the niggle and took action before any major harm was done.


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