Dundee United manager Robbie Neilson hailed his team’s “big statement” as they took a giant leap towards promotion.
The Tangerines’ 2-1 victory over Inverness Caley Thistle at Tannadice last night moved them 21 points clear of the second-placed Championship side.
It was a huge result for United and now the rest of the campaign will be about staying calm and focused as they finally secure a Premiership return.
A lovely goal from Louis Appere gave them a deserved lead on 12 minutes but the visitors pulled themselves level on 32 minutes through Jordan White.
That left the stage clear for Lawrence Shankland to be the hero once again with the winner on 59 minutes.
Neilson said: “It was a massive, massive game for us and to get three points is great.
“Considering the position we are in the league and with Inverness as our nearest contenders, it was a big statement.
“Also, we were also coming here after a bit of a sticky patch and there were doubts put out there, with people were asking question about if we were going to do it.
“We managed to show tonight that we are a strong team that deserves to be where we are.
“We are in a really good position.
“When I was at Hearts we found the last period of the season the hardest bit.
“The last wee while for us has been difficult and people have been asking questions about taking our foot off the gas but we proved that we are still at it and still competing.
“I think this result can kick us on for the rest of the season.”
The quality of the two United goals was extremely high, much to Neilson’s delight.
The United gaffer added: “Both goals were great finishes – two nice goals.
“At the first one, we had Rakish (Bingham) and Louis linking up and the lad showed great composure to finish like that. It was whipped across and he could have hit it first time but instead he had a phenomenal first touch to set himself up for the finish.
“Lawrence then showed the quality he has with another phenomenal touch and finish. He has been great for us all season, although he had been kicking himself recently for missing a couple of chances.
“We really should just make the most of him while he is here.”
Meanwhile, ICT boss John Robertson admitted it is game over in terms of the title.
He said: “It’s a bit like groundhog day in the matches against United this season.
“We have had chances to beat them but haven’t taken them.
“There have been spells when we have been on top but haven’t capitalised.
“So that’s where you have to congratulate United and that is what is going to make them worthy champions.”