ABERDEEN caretaker manager Barry Robson tonight praised his players for their performance against Dundee United on a Tannadice pitch he felt his old Celtic team mate Shunsuke Nakamura would have struggled to play on.

Second-half goals from Duk, Ross McCrorie and Marley Watkins secured a first away win over United in seven years and sent the Pittodrie club above St Mirren and into fifth place in the cinch Premiership table.

Robson - who took charge on an interim basis when Jim Goodwin, who was in the dugout for his first United game this evening, was sacked back at the end of January – was delighted with the fight his charges showed against their relegation-threatened opponents in difficult conditions.

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“I saw it in their eyes,” said Robson after the hard-fought 3-1 triumph. “I have seen it in training recently too, that they really want to go to war for you. They want to go to war for their club.

“At this stage of the season the way the pitches are, they have managed to do that. Even for someone like me who loves pure football, I sometimes enjoy that type of game. You have that hostile atmosphere and you want to play in it.

“You have got to remember the pitches, remember that the fans are on top of you, it is not easy. But I thought both sets of players put on a good game. It might not be a high quality game, it was an old fashioned Scottish game. But we will get better and better.

“We know the things we want to do, but we have all been here before and you know at this stage of the season you have got to fight, you have got to dig in in games.”

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Robson added: “We are still building ourselves back up again and our away form hasn't been great.

“People tend to forget that, but when you watch the players there tonight, and you see them standing up to everything Dundee United threw at them it augurs well for the future. 

“Look we all want to play nice football no-one more than me, but sometimes you have to stay in the fight. The pitches at this time of year do not let you play football. I played with players like Nakamura and they would struggle on that.

“You have a team fighting for survival, a hostile atmosphere. I have been here a million times with good teams and you need to find a way to win and we did that.”