Evening Telegraph

‘I was looking to see if I could go elsewhere’: Ex-Celtic kid Paul McMullan back from the brink at Dundee United

Paul McMullan

Winger Paul McMullan has revealed there was a real chance of him leaving Dundee United before the transfer window closed a week ago.

And the former Scotland U/21 international can’t rule out being on the move when the next window opens in January.

However, between now and then, the former Celtic kid, who was brought to Tannadice by Ray McKinnon before the start of last season, insists his only focus will be on winning back a regular first-team place.

That fight will continue in today’s Irn-Bru Cup second-round clash with Alloa, a game McMullan concedes he might not have been involved in.

“The speculation last week, it was true. I was having a look to see if I could go elsewhere because the playing time here has been limited,” he said.

“In the end there wasn’t anything that I felt attracted me more than Dundee United did, so that’s why I’m still here.

“The club had made it pretty clear to me that, if I wanted to move on, they weren’t going to stand in my way, they’d let me go.

“Between now and January I’ve got to get my head down and try to get time on the park.

“And when it comes to January I will re-evaluate because I will only have six months on my contract left. I will have to look at it.

“Right now, though, I’m just doing my best to try to get back into the team and see how that works. I’m not looking at anything else, I’m just focused on getting in the team and contributing.”

With that in mind he is not looking at tomorrow and the Irn-Bru Cup, a competition United have made clear is not a priority this term, with any sense of disdain.

He sees it as another chance to show manager Csaba Laszlo, who’s likely to be watching from the stand as reserve manager Craig Easton takes charge of the team, he should be in the starting line-up every week.

For fans turning up, history suggests McMullan’s presence could mean they will be in for another late show.

When the teams met at the same stage this time last year, he and Willo Flood struck deep in injury time to earn United victory.

And in the first round this season, it was McMullan’s last-gasp strike that secured a remarkable comeback win over St Johnstone Colts, who’d been two up late on. This time he’d settle for the winner to come a little earlier than that.

“I’ve done that a couple of times with late goals in this cup,” he added.

“Hopefully, we don’t leave it until that late again and the boys can do well and get into the next round.

“It would be nice to have a more straightforward victory but it is going to be a hard game and we saw at the weekend how tough it is playing against Alloa.

“We just have to take it as it comes and see how we get on.”

With Alloa expected to be along the same lines as when they lined up against United in the Championship last Saturday, McMullan knows making the third round could be a big ask.

“I wouldn’t think they will make too many changes but it’s an opportunity for us to show what we do and we will try to take it.

“It will be a good learning process for the younger ones in our team and a good test against seasoned pros who know what the game is all about.

“For me, it’s an opportunity to show what I can do and that’s what I have to keep on doing.

“I feel I’ve done OK, it’s just the chances haven’t been there for one reason or another and there’s not a lot I can do about that.

“All I can do is stay patient and, if an opportunity comes, do all you can to make sure I take it as best I can.”