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Jack Ross hails influence of veteran duo Steven Fletcher and Charlie Mulgrew

Steven Fletcher, 35, has made a positive impact at United (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Steven Fletcher, 35, has made a positive impact at United (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Jack Ross has heaped praise on veteran Dundee United duo Steven Fletcher and Charlie Mulgrew ahead of Sunday’s cinch Premiership match at home to Livingston.

The former Scotland pair were influential in Thursday’s exhilarating 1-0 victory over AZ Alkmaar in the first leg of their Europa Conference League third qualifying round tie.

Recent signing Fletcher, 35, rolled back the years with a magnificent performance as the focal point in attack, and Ross is delighted to have acquired the ex-Hibernian, Burnley, Wolves, Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday player.

“The quality Steven has within his game is brilliant, that’s why he’s had the career he has had,” said the manager.

“We are still adjusting what we do within the game to have an understanding of what he brings because he holds the ball up well, he’s clever with lay-offs and flicks, so we need to get people round him all the time. We can’t have him isolated. I think we’ve done that well so far.

“His understanding of the game and even his off-the-ball stuff, how he presses, how he helps that organisation, he’s clever so he takes on information. He’ll be a brilliant signing for us. He’s had loads of big nights in his career, but he enjoyed Thursday. It was a big one for him.”

Ross is equally impressed by the qualities of 36-year-old former Celtic and Blackburn defender Mulgrew.

“Charlie, like Steven, is a top player,” he said. “I was helping him with his (coaching) licenses when I was doing some work over the last few months, so I know he’s got an interest in being a coach and a manager, and therefore the tactical side of the game.

“That’s great because he takes on the information and has conversations about it. He trains like a demon every day. He’s got really high levels and he helps bring that along within the group.

“It’s been a privilege to work with him so far. He’s had big nights in his career as well, but you could see the determination from him – he wanted that one on Thursday.”