The Courier: Arbroath urge Dundee United to keep tabs on new strikerDundee United boss Jackie McNamara has been asked to ensure that striker Simon Murray’s eagerness to please does not adversely affect his performances at Arbroath.
The 22-year-old hitman put pen to paper on a two-and-a-half year contract with the Tannadice club earlier this month and will train full-time with United, although Murray will still turn out for Arbroath until the end of the season after being loaned back to the Lichties.
And while Gayfield boss Allan Moore is delighted to see the forward’s efforts recognised with a move to the top flight, he hopes the switch to United will not derail his team’s hopes of promotion back to League One.
“The only thing is with Simon is that we’ve got to hope he doesn’t burn himself out a wee bit going to Dundee United,” Moore explaned.
“He’s that type of guy – he wants to do everything at 100 miles per hour.
“He’ll be in there, he’ll be excited and he’ll not want to say that he’s a wee bit tired.
“So I’ve asked Jackie to keep a wee eye on him because he will want to do extra training and that might affect us on a Saturday.
“I’m delighted for the boy and for someone to get picked up at the age of 22 having played juniors last year is great.
“That’s why people play for Arbroath – there’s that wee opportunity to move on, and hopefully that will give other people a bit of a spur to come to us because it’s sometimes hard to attract players to go to Arbroath.
“But if you are playing good football, scouts will come and watch you, and hopefully what’s happened with Simon is a wee bonus.
“People will look at us and say: “You can get watched, you can go to Arbroath, you can get picked up by big teams.”“It is difficult sometimes because people think: “I’m not going to Arbroath, that’s at the end of the world”.
“But we only go there to go and play, and half the time it’s a decent pitch if you can get the weather good.”
Some would view United’s move for Murray, who was plying his trade in the junior ranks with Tayport last season, as a risk, although Moore reckons his United counterpart knows what he is doing.
“Jackie did it with Chris Erskine, he did it with Paul Paton,” he continued.
“He took a wee gamble on them and £50,000 or whatever it’s adding up to is not a lot of money to take a gamble on somebody if they go in and score a few goals.
“And I honestly think Simon can because he’s got something about him.
“Paul Sheerin brought him in, I’m not taking the credit for that, but when I first saw him in a training session the ball hits his shin or it hits his knee but if it lands at his feet he can certainly put it away.
“He’s a typical redhead – hyperactive and never stops! “But I think he knows himself that he’s got a great opportunity.
“His dad was a football player so he’ll give him good advice in that respect as well.
“Management is all about your players. “You can be the best manager in the world but you’ve got to have good players - it’s as simple as that.
“If you don’t have good players you are not going to win leagues.
“You can’t turn players into great players overnight but you can work on things. “We’ve worked on Simon’s touch, worked on his awareness and other bits of his game.
“We need to work on a bit of his link-up as well, but he’s worked on other aspects of his game and you’ve got to be in a good team to get noticed as well.
“Fortunately for Simon he’s in a good team that do a lot of attacking. “He’s getting a lot of goals because the guys behind him are supplying him.
“We’re not at the bottom of the league defending, and if he wasn’t getting as many goals he might not have been noticed so much.”
Moore’s league leaders have partly relied on Murray’s goals to stay top of the pile, so it is a bonus that the striker is staying at Gayfield for the second half of the season.
However, Moore went on to stress that the entire team deserves credit for their current league position.
He concluded: “It’s important that we kept Simon, but it’s just as important that we kept Paul McManus to be honest with you.
“I know he’s at the wrong end of the age spectrum but he’s scored as many goals as Simon.
“Paul Sheerin in fairness left us half a good team, and myself and Todd Lumsden managed to fill the other half, and it’s still a work in progress.
“We’ve still got half a season to go and anything can happen.
“Simon and Paul could both pick up injuries and then you start struggling to get goals and start slipping down the league.
“Fortunately for us we’ve managed to keep those two fit.
“We just need to strengthen up a wee bit in defence numbers-wise because we don’t have any backup, but if we do that then I think we’ve got a chance.”