Dundee United will romp to the Championship title and back to the Premiership.
Their 6-2 derby demolition puts United seven points clear of their neighbours and proves they are in a different class from the rest.
The best derby in Scotland was raucous and passionate as always, with the game rollicking around the pitch like a spaniel at the seaside.
The first half was electric: the decision to chalk off a perfectly good Dark Blues goal was quickly exacerbated when Butcher’s looping header put United ahead, but with Hemmings levelling soon after, Dundee were quickly back in the game.
United though went on to provide conclusive proof that they are Championship winners in waiting.
They blitzed their way to a 4-1 half time lead, and their fifth goal within a minute of the restart crushed the spirit of the Dens men who despite scoring a consolation second goal, suffered the ignominy of a sixth United goal afterwards.
United’s squad have more depth and quality than their neighbours.
In Lawrence Shankland they’ve acquired a Willie Pettigrew-type signing and older United supporters will recall that fine striker’s ability to find the net with clinical regularity.
Shankland has an instinctive nose for goal, yet last night his penalty was only one part of a great team effort.
His 20-year-old partner up front, Louis Appere, is a young Duncan Ferguson in the making, with great physical strength matched by subtlety of touch and excellent pace.
The Tangerines midfield is a class apart from others in the division in vision, deftness of touch, and acute passing, and while some have criticised their defence, they’ve conceded just five league goals.
Defensively United were not challenged sufficiently by a strike force of Hemmings and Johnson who are fine front men, but were denied sustenance and provision by their team-mates who failed to give the pair sufficient ammunition to threaten the united goal.
Their second half goal was well taken by substitute Andrew Nelson, but United proved when Smith hit their sixth goal, that they were the far superior side and could up the tempo when required.
United have spent heavily assembling a squad which is miles ahead of the rest of the division, and Robbie Neilson has answered those critics who were on his back after a poor league cup start.
The simple truth is that only promotion matters for United: cup runs are a distraction.
Last night was firm evidence that they are the team to beat in this league and very few will do that.
Dundee boss James McPake has good cause to complain about the disallowed goal early in the game.
It was a bad call from the assistant referee and the course of the game may well have been different if it had been awarded.
Dundee have goal threat but need better service to their strikers.
They have a good squad and are still my tip to finish second, but the investment at Tannadice has blown everyone else out of the water and that cash splash will be rewarded with Championship success and a return to the Premiership next season.