Scott Allardice happy to slot in at back for Dundee United

Dundee United “midfielder” Scott Allardice.

Dundee United gaffer Ray McKinnon sprang a surprise in the Irn-Bru Cup on Tuesday when he used teenager Scott Allardice in central defence.

But for the 19-year-old, normally a midfielder, it was a pleasant one.

Partnered with new signing Paul Quinn, Allardice looked more than comfortable in the Tangerines’ 2-0 victory over Cowdenbeath.

And if it increases his chances of more game time at top-team level, he’ll be more than happy to add the new position to his CV.

“I don’t mind playing there to be fair, it’s different from playing centre mid. You have more time on the ball but it’s a bit different when you’re doing the defensive side.

“You just need to clear your lines sometimes rather than try to play the ball out because you’ve not got someone behind you to cover if you lose it. I’ve played there a couple of times for the U/20s, not too often, but I enjoy it.”

And if he gets more time at the back, Allardice is confident he can strike the right balance between a safety-first approach and his natural instinct to make passes.

“As a midfielder I enjoy trying to get the ball down and playing and that’s sometimes my problem at the back. But it is a learning curve and I’m finding out it has to go to ‘row Z’ at times.

“This year especially we’ve got players who can create chances further up the park and, if you can thread the ball through to them, they’ll hurt other teams.”

Regarded as a very promising midfield talent, Allardice is aware the depth of the current squad means the more versatile he is, the more involved he can be.

“Right now centre-mid, last Saturday there was six of us who could have played, so it’s going to be hard to break in and if you can play a different position it helps your chances of being involved.

“The competition at the back is pretty strong as well and both areas are chock-a-block with good players, so you know you are going to have to take your chance when it’s given and the gaffer always stresses that.

“I played in the first derby against Dundee in the League Cup and up in Inverness and we did well as a team, but then I found myself not even on the bench.

“It is what it is, it’s because there is so much competition and so many good players that you know you might not be involved every week.

“But you have to be ready to take your chance when it comes and the Irn-Bru Cup was good for a few of us because we needed the game.”