Russell salutes Mackay-Steven

Dundee United striker hails team-mate

Gary Mackay-Steven: Dundee United player has been backed to be key against Dinamo Moscow

Dundee United striker Johnny Russell has backed his team-mate Gary Mackay-Steven to be a key player in his side's Europa League tie against Dinamo Moscow.

The Scottish side are in Russia on Thursday for the second leg of their third round qualifier, having drawn the first leg 2-2 at Tannadice last week.

United began their Scottish Premier League campaign at the weekend with a 3-0 victory over Hibernian, with Mackay-Steven giving an impressive performance.

And Russell believes that he can do the same against Dinamo.

Torrid time

"'Gaz' can give anyone a torrid time," he said. "Even before the first leg when he was outstanding, I fancied him to do that. When he is on his game he is pretty much unplayable.

"He can do inside then outside, get round defenders and is so strong. Gary is a great player and is a tremendous asset to Dundee United - Dinamo would be silly not to double up on him because if you give him space he's going to hurt you.

"Every team is going to give him extra attention but he'll rise to the challenge."

Winning

Russell also expressed his determination to get the better of Dinamo on Thursday.

"The fact we were under-estimated spurred us on. There were a few comments too and I believe foreign teams are disrespectful that way," he said.

"They came into the tie not thinking they were going to get the kind of game.

"They believe the foreign teams work hard and that's it but we have a lot of great technical players in Scotland.

"The way we played was an eye-opener for them but after putting so much effort into the first leg their late equaliser was a body blow.

"However, the way we kicked on against Hibs speaks volumes for the lads and we reckon we can win in Moscow.

"We want to push ourselves to the next stage. All that's missing is getting through to that next round."