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Page last updated at 15:09 GMT, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 16:09 UK

SPL split provides excitement, says Dundee United boss


Players worked for my award - Houston

Dundee United's Peter Houston has come to the defence of the much-maligned Scottish Premier League split.

On being named Clydesdale Bank Premier League manager of the month for March, Houston said: "The split has provided a lot of excitement in recent years.

"Twice we've had the Old Firm come to Tannadice and win the title on the last day of the season.

"And we lost out on Europe on the last day of last season. It's pressurised, but it does provide excitement."

Rangers, who visit Tannadice on Wednesday and again on 1 May, are unhappy at having to play three consecutive games away from home.

We've got Celtic to catch and we have to make sure that Hibs or Motherwell don't catch us

Dundee United manager Peter Houston

St Mirren and Motherwell also feel hard done-by at the way the final five fixtures of the campaign have been arranged.

United are at home to both halves of the Old Firm and Hibernian during the run-in, while they travel to Motherwell and Hearts.

"We've got a lot to play for," said Houston, who can also look forward to a Scottish Cup final with Ross County at the end of the season.

"We've got Celtic to catch and we have to make sure that Hibs or Motherwell don't catch us.

"We want to win as many points and finish as high up the league as we possibly can."

Houston, who took the step up from his assistant's role to succeed Craig Levein in December, picked up his manager's prize for masterminding three victories and a draw from United's four SPL games last month.

The Tangerines, who sit five points behind second-placed Celtic, beat top-six rivals Hearts, Motherwell and Hibernian.

"It's been a great month for the club," explained Houston. "I'm receiving the award, but you've got to remember it's the players that got me that. They've been magnificent.

"In the three-and-a-half years I've been here, we've always made sure the players coming to the club have an attitude that wants to work hard.

"And, if you combine talent and hard work, you've cracked it."

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see also
Rangers call for end of SPL split
13 Apr 10 |  Rangers
Dundee Utd's Dixon to miss final
13 Apr 10 |  Dundee Utd
Motherwell challenge SPL fixtures
12 Apr 10 |  Motherwell
Dundee Utd 2-0 Raith Rovers
11 Apr 10 |  Scottish Cups
SPL announces post-split fixtures
10 Apr 10 |  Scottish Premier
Levein backing Houston for prize
01 Apr 10 |  Dundee Utd

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