Mark Durnan: Dundee United ready to upset Aberdeen in cup clash

Mark Durnan in action for Dundee United

For once in the modern history of the New Firm, Dundee United will be massive underdogs when they head to Aberdeen on Sunday in the Scottish Cup.

But Mark Durnan knows Arabs will expect a performance in the Granite City and he intends to give them one.

With United going through a tricky spell in the Championship and the Dons riding high in second place in the Premiership, the home side are odds on to progress to the quarter-finals.

The long-standing rivalry between the two, though, means Durnan knows he and his team-mates have to rise to the occasion and will head up the coast ready to do battle.

“In the Scottish Cup, there have been good fixtures with Aberdeen over the years and we are looking forward to it,” he said.

“It’s always good to try to progress through the cup to the later stages and that’s what we aim to do.

“They’re obviously a division above us and they’re sitting in a good position in the league, so we are always going to be underdogs.

“But it’s a cup-tie and everything goes out the window. We’re just looking to go up there and put on the best performance we can and get a win to be in the next round.”

During this week’s build-up there’s been talk a United exit on Sunday, that leaves them to concentrate on getting their flagging promotion push back on track, could be a blessing in disguise for Csaba Laszlo’s men.

That’s been rubbished by gaffer Laszlo, and central defender Durnan can only see good in an extended cup run.

“The cup has been OK for me in the past and I enjoy it. I got to a semi-final in my first year with United and the year before I played in the quarters with Queens.

“Last year was disappointing (United lost 6-2 at Ross County) but it would be good if we can get a good run.

“If we can beat Aberdeen we can go a long way.

“This was probably one of the ties we didn’t want at this stage but, if we win it, we can go on from here.

“Beating them would be a big confidence boost and something we could build on for the rest of the season.”

United will at least be fresh going in on Sunday after last weekend’s scheduled trip to Inverness was called off because of a waterlogged pitch.

Durnan views that unexpected time off as a double-edged sword.

“I think we’d have rather played the game last weekend, just to take the chance to get back on track and get ourselves back to winning ways.

“We were definitely disappointed it was off because you always want to keep playing. What it does do is give us a freshness with not having had a game.

“It means we’ve had time to prepare. We have been building up to this one and we will be ready for it come Sunday.”

And the latest call-off means United are facing a backlog of games in the Championship, something he admits they could do without.

“We don’t want that in the league, we would have preferred to be playing week to week.

“This weekend we will not be thinking about that. All we are concentrating on is the Scottish Cup.

“It’s really important to us and we want to show we can put in a good performance.”

Not lost on Durnan is the fact when he signed up for United in 2015, it was with a view to playing in games like this. He’s keen to get back to the big stage.

“It’s good to play good sides and they are one of the better threats around. It’s good to test yourself against them.

“We’re looking forward to trying to cause an upset. We will have to defend well, we know that, but we need to be a threat going forward as well.”