Ray McKinnon believes his decision to change the entire starting line-up for last weekend’s Irn-Bru Cup win has been vindicated by not having to rush fit-again Tam Scobbie or Paul Quinn back into action.
The manager used a makeshift backline for the success against Linfield, with Stewart Murdoch the only member of the rearguard who’s likely to feature at Livingston in the Championship this Saturday.
With long-term absentee Scobbie and Quinn, who’s been out since last month, only due to return to full training this week, Ray did not want to risk more injuries that would have possibly meant one of them being pressed into action this weekend.
“The fact we won justified the selection but, with those two still out and a couple of others with knocks, I didn’t want to risk losing any more defenders when we had a big game like Livingston coming up,” he said.
So long as his other defenders stay fit, Scobbie and Quinn will probably be given a couple of weeks to build up their sharpness before being considered for places, though their performance in training this week Ray said that process accelerated.
Scobbie has been out since July when he tore groin muscles and his return was further delayed by a minor calf problem a couple of weeks back.
Quinn has been waiting for the all-clear to resume training after being found to have an elevated heart rate that was a side-effect of a poisoned tooth.
Both, though, are now back working normally and impressing the manager.
“They’ve looked great this week and the temptation is always there to throw them back into the squad when you see them doing well.
“But there is a difference between being fit to train and fit to play and I think it will be better to give them a couple of weeks to build up their strength.
“When they get there, it will give us good options at the back and that’s what I’m after all over the pitch.”
The Tangerines are still waiting for news of when exactly their Irn-Bru quarter-final tie against Crusaders will take place.
The last eight ties have will take place on November 11 or 12 and, ideally, United would prefer to host the Irish outfit on the Saturday with kick-off at 3pm. However, if the game is selected for TV, it could be switched to a tea-time start.