Tony Watt insists he was Dundee United 'scapegoat' before redemption arc under Jim Goodwin

Tony Watt
Tony Watt -Credit:SNS Group

Tony Watt believes he was wrongly made out to be a Dundee United scapegoat.

And he insists the only way he could silence the doubters was by firing them back to the Premiership. The striker had gone out on loan at St Mirren for the second half of the 2022-23 season after Liam Fox had decided he wasn’t part of his plans. Watt claims he was portrayed as the problem when there were far bigger issues at the club as the Tannadice outfit tumbled out of the top flight.

Rather than be the problem, Watt has gone on to show he can be more of the solution as he was a key man when Jim Goodwin’s side surged to the Championship title. Watt said: “I had to rebuild bridges that had come apart but I think everyone has seen the real me. I had to put up with all the lies and rubbish about the way I was portrayed.

“When the fans sang my name on Friday night that was a great moment for me, it has come full circle hasn’t it? I’d say this season has been number one for me, just because of the circumstances of it. For me, this was bigger than getting fourth because of the opinions people had about me and the way I had to change people’s minds.”

Watt was always confident that Goodwin would give him a chance of redemption. He added: “I wasn’t worried about coming back because I’d heard through the grapevine that the manager (Jim Goodwin) would give me a chance and he’s an honest guy.

“But I really didn’t want to come back, to be honest, because of how hurt I was. I was the scapegoat, I was made to look like an idiot.

“I was made to look like the problem when there were far more problems. But I have held my head high and reaped the rewards – we are back where we should be.

“My team-mates have been extra supportive, it’s a proud moment – we feel like a family at this club. Pardon the pun but everyone is united here. If I’ve got it up to 90 percent liking me and 10 percent not liking me now, that’ll do for me!”

Watt believes it is wrong how long United have spent outside the top flight and that is something they need to address. It is not only about going up but it is about establishing themselves in the Premiership.

Dundee United manager Jim Goodwin -Credit:SNS Group
Dundee United manager Jim Goodwin -Credit:SNS Group

Watt said: “The only annoying thing is we had to have this year’s sabbatical out of the Premiership because this club should always be there. This club being in the Championship for five years out of the last 10 is a disgrace, really.

“It shouldn’t be happening and hopefully that’s it done now, everyone can look forward. We shouldn’t even be flirting with it, really, given the size of the club.”

The former Motherwell and Celtic striker got a flavour of United’s potential when more than 12,000 fans turned up for the trophy lift. Watt said: “Hearing the whole crowd singing Dignity was an incredible moment – it was a dream.

“That is one of the songs me and my mates used to sing along with when we were younger. So to hear a packed Tannadice doing that, it was an incredible moment. That capped it. It has been a season of highs and hopefully next year we’ll give them more moments where they can celebrate that way.

“We will go into the new season with a lot of momentum after this season and who knows what will be possible for us? We’ll certainly have to work hard, harder than anyone else and that’s what the gaffer is all about.”