Houston denies shoot-out rift

PA Sport
Peter Houston, pictured, insists there was no falling out with Rudi Skacel
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Peter Houston, pictured, insists there was no falling out with Rudi Skacel

Manager Peter Houston had no intention of allowing Rudi Skacel to take a penalty in Dundee United's Scottish Communities League Cup shootout defeat to Hearts.

Czech forward Skacel left Hearts after winning the Scottish Cup in May and trained with the Tynecastle club before joining United last week.

He came off the bench in extra-time but, as Hearts had already been reduced to 10 men by the sending-off of Darren Barr, United had to de-select a player, meaning Skacel was a frustrated observer as Sean Dillon's miss handed the visitors a place in the semi-finals with a 5-4 shoot-out victory after a 1-1 draw.

Skacel had to be coaxed from the field, but Houston insisted the forward was never going to take a penalty.

The United boss said: "He wasn't upset. We spoke about it before. He knew about it. I wasn't going to let him take a penalty.

"I took Rudi out of it. I thought it would be best with the guys who I know taking penalties, and trust. I trust the players who were left on the park. I don't think it would've been fair on him. I felt there would be less pressure on the players that have been here for a while."

Hearts manager John McGlynn was pleased to advance.

He said: "I'm delighted to get through. In the first half we started exceptionally well and were a wee bit disappointed to go in level at half-time.

"In the second half it was quite an even game, not too many chances and we went down to 10 men.

"I thought the lads showed good character and spirit and good organisation. Dundee United had very few chances."

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