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Paul Heffernan Looking For United to Get Back to Winning Ways

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Paul Heffernan admits he hopes Dundee United can return to winning ways as soon as possible — and help confirm Dundee’s place in this season’s top six.

The 33-year-old striker, who signed from Hibs at the start of February, netted the Dark Blues’ third goal against the Tangerines on Wednesday night to set the seal on a famous derby victory for Paul Hartley’s side.

The result meant United have not won in their last 10 games, but, if they can beat Hamilton on Saturday, it will mean that Dundee would almost certainly finish in the top half of the Premiership after the split, no matter what happens in their game against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

Heffernan said: “The lads were saying that in the changing-room. So it would be a bit ironic.

“But we go to St Johnstone and we know we’re definitely in the top six if we win through there.

“That’s what we will be focusing on. I’m surprised by that (United 10 games without a win).

“When I was at Hibs, we played them early on in the season in the cup and they were a very good side.

“Whenever I seem to play them, they’re good so to not win in 10 games is a long time.

“But, having said that, they’ve got some very good players in the team. It would be perfect if they come good against Hamilton on Saturday.

“That would cement our place in the top six so here’s hoping. Hopefully they can turn it around. That would help us.

“We’re only two points behind United now. We’ve just got to keep going when the split comes.

“I’m sure the fans would be delighted if we could finish above them.”

Prior to Wednesday’s 3-1 triumph, Dundee had last won a derby away back in 2004, something Heffernan and his team-mates were determined to put right.

He added: “It was a big motivating factor. Obviously a lot of us haven’t been here that long.

“But for the sake of the fans who hadn’t seen the club winning a derby in such a long time, it was more for them really.

“We just prepared like we did for any other game. We did our homework on them, focusing on their strengths and weaknesses and actually did that very well.

“I was delighted for the fans. I’m sure they will enjoy this one. These games certainly can define players. People remember big games like derbies.

“Obviously it’s on the TV and stuff like that makes it special. It’s always nice to get a good performance and a game like this because a lot of people are watching.

“I thought we fully deserved the victory. It’s the best I’ve seen us play since I’ve been here.”

Heffernan’s goal was his first in a dark blue strip since joining Dundee and when asked if he hoped that might kick-start his career at Dens, he replied: “Hopefully it will. It’s been a time coming.

“I’ve picked up a few niggles and injuries since I’ve been here so hopefully, touch wood, I can stay fit and get in the team and score some more goals between now and the end of the season.”

Heffernan was handed a start against United at the expense of fellow striker David Clarkson who had ended his long goal drought up in Inverness at the weekend.

Hartley’s decision raised a few eyebrows but Heffernan revealed it was not unexpected for him.

He added: “I wasn’t really surprised.

“The gaffer had spoken to a few of us and said that there were three games within a week and because of that he was going to make a few changes.

“It was a case of not everybody being able to play. He wanted to freshen things up. He had already told me I would probably play in this game.”

Source: The Courier

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