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Football: I'm out to B an Irish star like my big brother SAYS ARABS' NOEL HUNT; Clydesdale Bank PREMIER LEAGUE SPL LATEST... DUNDEE UTD v KILLIE Today, Tannadice, 3pm.

Byline: By Euan McArthur

NOEL HUNT last night vowed to continue dazzling for Dundee United so he can become a Republic of Ireland hero like brother Stephen.

Hitman Hunt's blistering seven-goal haul this season led to a call-up for the Irish B squad's friendly with Scotland.

Older brother Stephen, who plays for Reading, also kicked off his cap career in the second string before moving on to win full international honours.

And that is the same route the 24-year-old Arabs star is planning to take.

Hunt, who is aiming to add to his goals tally when United face Kilmarnock today, said: "My brother was called up to the B team a few times before making it into the full squad.

"It didn't do him any harm, although he's been playing really well for the last three or four years.

"Hopefully, if I can keep things up, there may be more good times ahead for me.

"We meet on the Sunday before the game and although it's a new squad, I'm sure we'll get to know each other before long."

Hunt admitted he was shocked to be chosen by the Irish even though he had been producing scintillating shows for United.

Now the striker intends to leave Killie stunned at Tannadice.

Hunt said: "It came as a bit of a shock but I'm absolutely delighted. It's an honour to be chosen for my country

"Things have been going really well this season, both for the team and for me, and long may it continue.

"Nobody had said to me they thought I might be included. I've just been concentrating on working as hard as normal to keep up the standards I've set.

"When something likes this comes along, though, you're just grateful for the chance and hopefully it's one I'll seize."

Hunt wasn't the only player celebrating international recognition on Tayside yesterday - fellow Irishman Sean Dillon was also named in the B squad while Darren Dods made it into the Scotland B set-up for the first time.

And Hunt reckons boss Craig Levein has been responsible for their dazzling displays.

He said: "Sean has been excellent this season so he deserves his call-up as well.

"And Darren Dods has been called into the Scotland B squad which makes it even better for the club as a whole.

"Dodsy and I have just had a bit of banter. He's been terrific for us at the back since the season started.

"The gaffer has to take a lot of the credit. He's got us working and performing well as a team and that's what brings results."

But they will be hoping to avoid a repeat of the red card Christian Kalvenes controversially picked up when United faced Killie earlier in the season. It handed the Ayrshire men the initiative to chalk up a last-gasp win.

United have recovered from what was a clear injustice and Hunt is sure they have the mettle to bounce back from last Saturday's slump at Aberdeen.

He said: "It wasn't Kilmarnock's fault we had a man sent off. It was the wrong decision and it was obviously a bit of a blow for us.

"Losing two late goals is always hard to take, especially when you thought you'd just done enough to win the game.

"We have to make sure we go at them from the start.

"Like even the best teams, we've had a couple of setbacks but always bounced back.

"Losing to Aberdeen last week was a bit of a hiccup. Nothing went right for us.

"We're looking to get back on track against Killie with another home win in front of our own fans."

Levein is also backing his troops to bury the memory of their Dons defeat. He said: "The big thing for me is that, having lost the game at Aberdeen and not played well, we had a good week's training.

"We have caught our breath and now I hope to see far more energy as we attempt to bounce back from what was a disappointment at Pittodrie.

"I'm sure the fans will see a far better performance than they did last weekend.

"Mentally we struggled to get going against Aberdeen after playing a few tough matches.

"They were sharper and more energetic and had players keen to stay in the side for their UEFA Cup match. Everything combined to see us beaten.

"But in the past when we have not reached a high standard we have managed to come back strongly next time around.

"I can promise our supporters that we will do our best to play good football.

"We are very proud of our home record and will be fighting tooth and nail to get the points."

Meanwhile, Polish keeper Lukasz Zaluska's injury isn't as bad as was first feared.

Levein said: "We have not yet had the results of his scans.

"But it may be that he's pulled a muscle on the sole of his foot.

"Although that will be painful for Lukasz, it's a lot better than a break and he may be sidelined for just a week."


FLAG HAPPY: Noel Hunt is delighted at his Irish call-up and gives credit for it to Dundee United boss Craig Levein
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 10, 2007
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