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JASON SCOTLAND is glad to be grabbing goals again for Dundee United—he just wishes they could count for something.


The Trinidadian frontman’s dry spell lasted until late December, by which time even his mother had been giving him grief about his scoring drought.

Since then he has found the net in matches against Hibs, Rangers and Aberdeen.

The only problem is that those strikes have been drowned out by opposition goals and he would love nothing more than to get the winner against Motherwell at Fir Park this afternoon.

The Tangerines travel to Lanarkshire knowing that, with relegation rivals Dundee and Livingston meeting at Dens, victory would see them boost their position in relation to at least one of those teams.

And Scotland is determined to play his part.

“When I score a goal we always seem to go on and lose the game, which is really frustrating and disappointing,” said Scotland, who grabbed United’s consolation against the Dons in the 2-1 setback on Wednesday.

“It is always nice to score but the most important thing is winning the game and getting the three points, which is what we hope to do at Motherwell.

“It will be a hard match but we have to try to beat them in order to start climbing the league.”

That won’t be easy for a team that has racked up only four SPL successes out of 27 fixtures this season—the lowest tally in the division.

The league struggle can be held in stark contrast to United’s cup exploits but all thoughts of the Tennent’s Scottish Cup semi-final against Hibs next month have been banished as the battle against the drop takes precedence.

“We have been playing okay a lot of the time and that is why we are through to the cup semi,” added Scotland.

“However, we must look to the league just now and hopefully things will go our way soon.

“With Livingston beating Kilmarnock in midweek while we were losing to Aberdeen that increased the pressure on us.

“But that just makes the players all the more determined to get things right at Motherwell.”

Despite finishing on the losing side and carrying a foot injury, Scotland thrilled the United fans with a piece of skill—dubbed the “spanner”—against the Dons in midweek.

It saw him draw two defenders in at a corner flag and speed clear with the ball and manager Ian McCall is backing the player to bamboozle the Well defence today.

“Jason’s bit of skill was amazing and I can’t believe I have not seen or read more about it,” said McCall.

“It was as good as what Ronaldinho did for Barcelona against Celtic (in the Champions League).

“He is a special talent. It doesn’t matter what kind of defender he plays against because, with his close control and pace, he will cause anyone problems.

“He could be more consistent, though, and his finishing could be better.

“We’re working hard with him to improve that aspect of his game and if he could learn to shoot a bit more quickly when in position he would score a lot more goals.”

With Paul Ritchie suspended after being red-carded against Aberdeen, David McCracken should return to take his place in central defence alongside Alan Archibald.

Jim McIntyre was thought to have a chance of a place on the bench but a cold has scuppered that plan.

However, the good news is that club captain Derek McInnes has made such progress following knee surgery that he could be named as one of the substitutes.

McCall has certainly had plenty of injuries to deal with and that has brought him sympathy from opposite number Terry Butcher, himself a former Tannadice coach.

Butcher believes McCall has been under unfair pressure because of those selection problems but he believes the Tangerines will avoid relegation.

“To be fair they have had their fair share of injuries,” said the former Rangers defender.

“They have shown they are a good team—in the cups in particular—but Ian has had to shuffle things around a lot.

“The pressure that Ian has encountered has been over the top but I know what it’s like down there at the bottom.

“When things go against you there is a snowball effect.

“But they have got enough quality players there, as they proved against Aberdeen, to avoid going down.”

Butcher has everyone except Brian Kerr available but is considering freshening up his side following their stale midweek draw at Dunfermline.