Dundee United players have been celebrating the team’s promotion back to the Scottish Premiership from home due to strict lockdown restrictions.
The Tangerines have been unable to fully enjoy the spoils of their efforts on the pitch during the 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the footballers taking to social media to share their delight with fans.
On Wednesday evening, Robbie Neilson’s United were declared Scottish Championship victors after the SPFL made the decision to “call” the season in the lower leagues.
The league needed 75% approval from clubs in all four divisions for the proposal to go through, with the result hinging on city rivals Dundee FC’s “yes” vote.
The decision made United Championship winners, while Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers were topped League One and League Two respectively.
The Tannadice side have been playing in the Championship since being relegated in 2016 after losing the “Doon Derby” to Dundee.
Unable to take part in the usual celebrations with fans, Tangerines players took to Twitter and Instagram to ineract.
Defender Liam Smith’s first reaction seemed to be to ask his Alexa to play Endor’s Pump it Up remix.
🏆CHAMPIONS🏆 Not how we wanted it to end but thoroughly deserved! 🍾 pic.twitter.com/mkgevmAuLc
— Liam Smith (@Liamsmith_29) April 15, 2020
“Alexa…play Endor Pump It Up”
— Liam Smith (@Liamsmith_29) April 15, 2020
United defender Mark Connolly joked that city nightclub Underground should be opened “for a bit” to let people celebrate the news.
He later paid credit to “players, staff and fans”, adding: “Certainly not the way we wanted it to finish but nonetheless, the least we deserved.
“It’s been a tough few years for this football club. When I had the opportunity to come back to Scotland with the job of helping this fantastic club back to where it belongs I jumped at it.
“The football club needed to change a lot of hings but with the owner, Tony (Ashgar), Mal (Brannigan) and everyone behind the scenes we’ve achieved the first goal that was set out for all of us.
“I want to thank everyone at the club for the welcome myself and my family got from day on. There’s been ups and downs but Dundee is a place we call home.
“This group of players is without a doubt the best I’ve come across, hardworking, determined and honest.
— Mark Connolly (@Mark5Connolly) April 16, 2020
Surely they’ll open underground for a bit?
— Mark Connolly (@Mark5Connolly) April 15, 2020
“Through all the bad and good times we’ve stuck together and that’s something as a football club I think is vital for all of us moving forward, there will be highs and lows, but togetherness will get us through all of it.
“I would like to thank the fans for their support throughout the season, the numbers at home/away games has been incredible.
“We were without a doubt the biggest club in the championship and you as fans showed that.”
He added: “I can promise one thing, when all this is over, we will celebrate together, enjoy the moment and look forward to being back in the Premiership.”
Connolly also praised his wife and two children, adding: “They have had to deal with the highs and lows. They’ve supported not only me but everyone at this football club from the day I walked through the door. They are to me the definition of team.”
— Nicky Clark (@nickyclark91) April 15, 2020
Star striker Lawrence Shankland, who scored 29 goals for the club during the season, was among the players to share his delight at being crowned champions via Instagram.
He appeared to have his eyes on the next task as he posted a photo of a goal celebration with the words “Premiership this way”.
View this post on Instagram
Somos campeones de la liga.! 🏆 Muy contento por el logro conseguido y también por las personas que conocí en este gran club @dundeeunitedfc me fui de un club hermoso como @cab_oficial el cual me formo como jugador y persona, donde siempre voy a estar agradecido y espero volver a cruzarme otra vez en mi carrera. Ahora a disfrutar de esto con mi familia, mi novia y la gente que siempre me brindo su apoyo.! 💪🏻🏆🧡🖤 🇦🇷 🏴
It comes after Dundee United owner Mark Ogren said the promotion gave him “enormous pleasure and an over-riding sense of humility”.
He added: “To have achieved our objective at a time when the world is hurting so much puts the issues of football in real perspective.
“It would have been thrilling to have achieved this promotion following a game at Tannadice in front of all our supporters, but I’ve been told on many occasions since we arrived in Dundee that if there is a hard way to achieve something, then we will find it.
“It is richly deserved after all the work, professionalism and support everyone has contributed to this season.”