Writer: Tactful Sheik
Date:Thursday July 26 2007
Several months ago, both Dundee United and Hibernian were given the opportunity to arrange exhibition matches against Barcelona.
Obviously, Dundee United jumped at the chance to play against Barca - exactly 20 years after knocking them out of the UEFA Cup Quarter-Finals.
However, Hibernian weren`t as keen and were slightly put off by the Spanish club`s financial demands.
Hib`s loss was Hearts gain, as the Tynecastle club stepped in, arranged to host Frank Rijkaard`s side at Murrayfield this Saturday afternoon and have sold over 40,000 tickets for the match already.
Tickets for Dundee United`s friendly against Barcelona sold out in less than a week, as supporters couldn`t resist the chance to see talented players like Ronaldinho and Thierry Henry strut their stuff on the Tannadice turf.
Not surprisingly, Chairman Eddie Thompson - a Dundee United supporters himself - has admitted his excitement about Thursday night`s match, but manager Craig Levein has admitted the players are just as excited about coming up against some of the best players in the world.
'I knew it wasn't going to be a typical pre-season match but how could I give it up?' admitted Levein to the BBC.
'Maybe none of my players will get this opportunity to come up against the players of this calibre ever again.'
'It gives the players the opportunity to pit their wits against some of the best players in the world."
"They are a great bunch of players who always work very hard but there has been an extra edge this week.'
'They all want to start the match and they all want to finish the match so they can swap jerseys."
Not that Levein will allow himself to get carried away by all the hype, because he`s got to concentrate on the start of the SPL season against Aberdeen next week.
'There are things in the game that I will stress that they have to do to help us for a week on Saturday when we play Aberdeen.'
Date:Thursday July 26 2007
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