With United out of the Betfred Cup it means the senior squad has the ‘luxury’ of a short break from league business. Despite this rest the club are technically involved in another competition this week, the Irn-Bru Cup. Having won the trophy under Ray McKinnon two years ago the club and the fans have, maybe rightly, viewed the competition with a great deal of cynicism ever since. This season the board and management have made the decision to hand over control to Craig Easton and Scott Robertson in order to give the Reserve Squad and U18s Squad a chance to shine.
With the pressure on the club this season it is probably the right call to allow the younger players an opportunity to gain valuable experience in a competitive environment. Last year we did have a go at a more ‘mixed’ side but it probably put undue physical pressure on some of the first team squad so this time around it will almost exclusively be the younger players to feature in the competition. It might be that one or two unused players from the first team squad appear but the message from the board is that it will be Craig Easton and Scott Robertson’s decision who plays. They are in sole charge during these games so we won’t see any of the 1st team coaches involved.
The appointment of the two former United men in their new roles has been met with a great deal of positivity and rightly so. It is fantastic to have Easton and Robertson back at the club and my opinion is that youth players probably relate to coaches who are a bit younger and who can talk about their own footballing careers in a much more relevant way. It also helps that both of the new coaches made nearly 400 combined appearances for United and you would hope that this connection to the club can encourage the younger players they work with.
As for tomorrow I’m not really sure what to expect but I will go along looking forward to seeing some of the younger players at the club in action. The season hasn’t really started for the ‘Reserve’ side but already we have seen some success in pre-season with Easton and Robertson guiding a young squad to victory in the annual Oban Tournament and, in a younger age category, the Under 16s won the 2018 Oakham tournament (beating teams like Stoke and Chelsea in the process). That squad was supervised by Lee Wilkie and Academy Director Brian Grant. With all of the pressure currently on the first team it is nice to see the younger sides being involved in these tournaments and hopefully tomorrow night we will see a good performance from the young Terrors against the St.Johnstone U21s side.