Gardyne welcomes Skacel challenge

Dundee United’s Michael Gardyne is pleased with the extra

competition from Rudi Skacel ahead of his possible full debut

against Hearts.

United play Skacel’s former side in the Scottish Communities

League Cup quarter-final at Tannadice on Wednesday seeking to build

on their first Scottish Premier League win since August, when

Skacel made his debut at St Mirren on Saturday. Speaking at a Tesco

Bank Football Challenge event in Dundee on Tuesday, Gardyne said:

“The boys are feeling good. It was good to get the three points on

Saturday, we needed that, and it gives you confidence going into

such a big game tomorrow night.

“Our squad’s looking a lot better these days, with Rudi coming

in; Gary Mackay-Steven’s going to be back either tomorrow night or

Sunday (against Celtic). It’s good competition for places.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way; you want the competition as

it keeps you on your toes.

“The players we’ve got coming in are great quality so it can

only benefit Dundee United.”

Skacel had been training with Hearts, who he left for a second

time after winning the Scottish Cup in May.

A third spell at Tynecastle was mooted before Hearts were last

week handed a transfer embargo for delayed payment of player wages

and United boss Peter Houston unveiled the former Southampton and

Marseille forward on Friday.

“He just came in on Friday morning and he was in training that

day. He’s been brilliant since he came in,” Gardyne added.

“He’s got a wealth of experience, so it can only be good for the

young boys in the team and for Rudi himself – he’s just looking to

play games.

“He’s played at Hearts for a number of years and played

international football so it’s someone great to have in the

squad.”

Hearts defied their off-field troubles by claiming a last-gasp

draw with Gardyne’s former club Ross County last weekend and won

3-0 against United in September.

United’s form has belatedly turned at the right time and Gardyne

is optimistic of success, with the potential for the semi-final to

take place at the national stadium.

“It’s a one-off game, an incentive to get to Hampden in the next

round,” he said.

“We want to win, we want to get through and it’s one step closer

to winning a cup.

“The two teams have got really good players. It’s all about who

wants it more.

“The manager said that to us today. The boys are raring to go

and we’re buzzing for it.

“It doesn’t matter how we win, even if it goes to penalties, as

long as we go through.”