Dundee United: Cammy Bell believes extra play-off tie could prove crucial

Dundee United goalkeeper Cammy Bell
Cammy Bell was in the Rangers side that lost 6-1 in the play-off final against Motherwell

Cammy Bell reckons finishing behind Falkirk in the Championship could prove to be a blessing in disguise for Dundee United's promotion hopes.

United's third-place finish meant an extra play-off round against Morton, which they won 5-1 on aggregate.

"Having two games under our belt is good," goalkeeper Bell said ahead of Tuesday's semi-final first leg.

"A lot of boys hadn't been in the play-offs before so for them to get a feel for it means we're well prepared."

The Tannadice outfit won 2-1 at Morton in the quarter-final first-leg and 3-0 in Friday's return.

And Bell believes the experience of those high-pressure matches will prove crucial.

"People say finishing second is better but you've got to manage the time off then, and we've just been playing," he told BBC Scotland.

"We know what the play-offs are all about as we've already had two games. We're prepared and there will be no surprises for us."

Simon Murray
Striker Simon Murray was on target for United in the 3-0 win over Morton

Bell reckons his side are finding form at just the right time as they look to return to the Premiership after one season in the second-tier.

From 24 September to 24 December, United won 10 and drew two of their 12 Championship matches, a run that included victories over eventual league winners Hibernian, and Falkirk.

Then came a run in which they won just one in 10, losing six of those matches. The Tannadice men have bounced back in recent months, however, losing just one of their final eight league matches.

"We've got a lot of players hitting form at the moment," Bell added. "We had our dip after Christmas for a couple of months - but towards the end of the season we've picked up and have been in good form.

"We feel fresh and the boys are looking forward to the game on Tuesday. It's two huge matches for both clubs but I feel as if the team are ready for it and are in the best form we've been in for the last three of four months to be honest."

Bell, who was in the Rangers side that lost 6-1 on aggregate in the play-off final against Motherwell two season ago, knows his side's record against the Bairns this term does not make for happy reading.

Dundee United's Tony Andreu
Bell pinpointed Tony Andreu as a potential key man for Dundee United

Of the four meetings, Falkirk won two, United one and one match finished a draw.

"For me it's a completely separate thing," the 30-year-old added. "You can look at the previous games and obviously we know the players in each side now so you've got experience from that, but it's different.

"There's huge pressure in these games and you've got to manage the fact it's over two legs. You can't win it in one night but you need to make sure you're still in the tie for the second leg."

And in Tony Andreu, who has hit 19 goals this term, Bell believes United have a player who can make the difference.

"He's got that quality that he can score a goal out of nothing and can control a game for us as well," Bell said. "He's a vital part of what's happening and is a good player to have. He'll be vital for us for the rest of the play-offs."

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