06 March 2022

Dundee United assistant Liam Fox hails ‘outstanding’ Liam Smith

06 March 2022

Dundee United assistant Liam Fox heaped praise on Liam Smith after the 25-year-old scored a wonder goal in the 2-2 draw with Hearts.

The former Ayr full-back has missed a big chunk of this season due to a knee injury, but he netted against Livingston in midweek and then repeated the feat on Saturday with a stunning long-range strike just seconds after half-time.

Hearts took the lead in the first minute of the game through Liam Boyce but were pegged back by Smith’s goal and then fell behind to a Nicky Clark penalty.

However, the Edinburgh side secured a draw late on thanks to a Craig Halkett header.

Fox was disappointed not to take all three points but was delighted for Smith.

Fox said: “Liam was outstanding playing in a new role in midfield and it was a goal fit for any game.

“He’s had a tough time with his knee injury, so it’s great to see him back playing like that.

“He’s a very good footballer and he can play in any position on the pitch really.”

Hearts lost five players to injury during the game, with United skipper Ryan Edwards also having to come off with what looked like a broken nose after being caught with an elbow by Ellis Simms.

However, Fox insisted the towering centre-half should make a quick recovery.

“Ryan has a sore face, but he’s a big, tough Scouser so he’ll be fine – you don’t need to worry about him,” he said.

Tempers threatened to boil over on the touchline, with referee Willie Collum showing a yellow card to United head coach Tam Courts in the second half as he voiced his displeasure following an aerial challenge between home defender Ross Graham and Josh Ginnelly.

However, Fox said the exchanges between the two benches just showed how much they both wanted to win.

Fox said: “It wasn’t spiky on the touchline, it’s really just two sets of staff who want to win.

“Tam got booked, but it’s part and parcel of the game.

“Everyone is together, the players, the supporters and the staff, and we are all desperate to do well for the club.”

Hearts boss Robbie Neilson felt his players deserve enormous credit for battling to secure a draw despite all the enforced changes.

Neilson said: “It’s important to be resilient. Dundee United are a good team.

“We were fighting to get back in it, but credit to the players.

“We kept believing, kept doing the right things and, with a couple of chances, we could have won.”

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