DUNDEE United match-winner Mark Durnan has revealed he was almost not even playing against Dunfermline in Saturday’s IRN-BRU Cup quarter-final.
The Tannadice defender scored for the third time in four matches as his deflected effort in the eighth minute eased Ray McKinnon’s side into the last-four of the tournament.
It was a seventh straight victory for the Tangerines, but Durnan should have joined his eight team-mates who were rested for the tie after last Tuesday’s 1-0 victory over the Pars in the league.
In the end, his last-minute call-up proved decisive as he followed up goals against Falkirk and old club Queen of the South in recent weeks.
He said: “A few of the boys were giving me stick and saying it was an own goal because it took a deflection.
“But it was nice to find myself in that position and to get us the goal that won us the match and took us into the semi-final.
“I was saying to [top scorer] Tony [Andreu] ‘you’re under pressure now and I’ll take your position next week at Morton’!
“I actually wasn’t meant to be playing but someone pulled out inured, so the manager pulled me in and told me I would be playing in the match.
“I always prepare for matches anyway, just in case, and so I just came in to the team and tried to help the team get to the semi-final.
“It was a lucky change because I managed to find the net.”
As well as a semi-final berth in the IRN-BRU Cup, United are now just a point behind Championship leaders Hibs in the league.
After an indifferent start to the campaign, the Tannadice men have hit form in recent weeks and Durnan is desperate for the run to continue.
He added: “That’s what you want, you don’t want to lose any matches, and we feel we’ve got a good enough squad to go out there and win most matches.
“We’ll keep it going. We don’t want to get carried away but it is a good run and we want to continue that.
“If we want to be up there at the end of the season, winning stuff, that’s what we need to do.”