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Arsenal can lay down a marker

By ESPN Staff

Dundee United hand Houston the reins at Tannadice

Dundee United have confirmed Peter Houston as manager until the end of the season.

Houston agreed to take on the role after meeting chairman Stephen Thompson following United's 3-3 draw with St Johnstone, which followed four successive victories.

A statement on United's official website read: "Peter met with the chairman this morning, with both parties agreeing that there was mutual benefit in continuing the present arrangements on a more permanent basis and both keen to put an end to continuing speculation."

Houston had ruled himself out of the running for the job after a 7-1 defeat by Rangers in his second match as caretaker boss following the departure of Craig Levein.

Houston claimed he was too close to the players following his role as assistant to Levein, now Scotland manager.

After taking one point from three games, United stepped up efforts to bring in a permanent manager but a deal to bring Pat Fenlon to Tannadice broke down over a failure to agree compensation with his club, Bohemians.

And victories over Partick Thistle, in the Scottish Cup, Hamilton, Hibernian and Falkirk sparked support from fans and players for Houston to take the job.

United confirmed that Houston would be allowed to assist Levein when he takes charge of his first Scotland game, a Hampden friendly against the Czech Republic on March 3.

The 51-year-old has also had assurances that he and coach Gary Kirk will receive extra assistance on the training field after being a man short since Levein's departure in the days before Christmas.

Houston's third and final precondition was that he would remain in his role as assistant if United appointed a new manager in the summer.

Houston's contract has two years to run but leading United into Europe, something which Levein failed to do despite his improvement of the team, could see him extend his time in the hotseat beyond the summer.

United are ten points ahead of fifth-placed Hearts as they push for a top-four place that would seal a European spot next season.


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