Scottish Premier League

McNamara to appeal Douglas red

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Sat, 27 Apr 2013 12:46:00

The chase for fourth spot in the Bundesliga is hotting up with Schalke's home game with Hamburg on Sunday set to be crucial.

Just two points separate the sides who go into the weekend placed fourth and eighth, and with four games of the season to go, all is still to play for.

"It's going to be a very interesting weekend," said Schalke coach Jens Keller. "We desperately want to pick up points in the battle for fourth and, together with our fans, celebrate a win against Hamburg. We have got to make the most of home advantage."

To achieve that, Keller may place his faith in Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who has been absent for six weeks due to injury, but is now back in full training.

His record of having scored four goals in his last three games against the northern Germany side make him an ideal candidate to lead the attack.

"I have been positively surprised by the physical condition Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has been in during training," said Keller at a press conference. "There is definitely the chance that he will start against Hamburg."

His compatriot Rafael van der Vaart will be Hamburg's dangerman, although Keller has ruled out marking him man for man. "We won't have anybody treading on his toes," he said.

Hamburg come into the game with less pressure, according to their coach Thorsten Fink.

"Schalke are under pressure because they desperately want to qualify for the Champions League," he said.

After a difficult start to the season, Hamburg's aim was never to finish inside the top four, although if the chance were to present itself, they would not turn it down.

"We want to surprise in a positive way," added Fink, whose side are one of five clubs still fighting out for three places in Europe next season.

United manager Jackie McNamara confirmed United would be appealing the decision.

He said: "I've just seen the monitor, he (Douglas) won the ball, I don't think it was a yellow, never mind a red - this is one we'll be appealing."

County midfielder Iain Vigurs admitted he was surprised when United's Barry Douglas was sent off for a challenge on Sproule early in the second period.

He said: "I haven't seen it again on TV - it looked like the got the ball but the linesman obviously saw something."

Vigurs played down the prospect of finishing in a European spot. He said: "We're not really thinking about Europe all we were interested in was picking up points.

"It's been a bit of a crazy season - the last four games haven't been the best but we played some good stuff, especially in the second half and we could have got more goals."

Vigurs, who laid on the winner for Sproule, said: "It wasn't the best of games but it was a vital three points."

On the goal, he added: "I managed to get to the byline and dinked it over and Ivan was in the right place at the right time. It was a great ball from Paul Lawson in the first place, he's played well since coming back into the side in January."

Since defeating United 2-0 in a League Cup clash back in 1998, County had lost six and drawn four of the last 10 meetings between the teams.

But County thoroughly deserved their win on this occasion - a result which keeps them within touching distance of a European place.

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