Houston has belief in players

Dundee United boss Peter Houston trusts his team can end 2012 on a high in Sunday's Scottish Premier League game with St Mirren at Tannadice.

The Tangerines hosts the Buddies in their final match of the year after an indifferent first half of the season which has seen them fail to win on home soil since back in August and draw far more often than they would have liked.

But they are preparing to welcome Danny Lennon's men to Tayside for Sunday's SPL meeting and Houston is backing his players to come good and bring the fans some festive cheer going into the new year.

He said: "I've always believed in this group of players.

"Things haven't always gone to our liking recently but it's not for the lack of effort nor ability.

"The lads are all top professionals and I'm confident they'll get their rewards because they are good enough and they just need to show that.

"We've shown in spells at times this season how good we can be and that's what we have to try and do when St Mirren come to our place on Sunday."

United are bracing themselves for a festive battle with the Buddies and Houston knows they could not have asked for a much tougher fixture to round off the year.

He said: "It's never easy against St Mirren.

"We've had a lot of close matches with them and I would expect them to be much the same.

"St Mirren work ever so hard for each other which is what we'll have to do as well to get the right result.

"But the lads are looking forward to the game and hopefully we rise to the occasion and the fans get right behind us from the very start.

"They wants success as much as we would so we're all in this together."

United full-back Keith Watson hopes to recover in time to face the Buddies after going off nursing a shoulder injury in the Tayside derby with St Johnstone on Boxing Day.

Winger Gary Mackay-Steven is still out after breaking his hand recently while full-back Sean Dillon is set to be sidelined again as he struggles to get over a long-running thigh injury.