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Dundee United to appoint Ray McKinnon as manager after compensation deal agreed

Ray McKinnon sends instructions to the Raith players at Easter Road.
Ray McKinnon sends instructions to the Raith players at Easter Road.

Dundee United are poised to appoint Ray McKinnon as their new manager after the Tannadice club agreed a compensation deal with Raith Rovers.

The Tangerines had a second cash offer accepted late on Sunday by the Kirkcaldy side and permission was subsequently given to speak to McKinnon.

Talks will now take place between club and coach but Courier Sport understands that the former Tangerines midfielder wants the job and is expected to be named as Mixu Paatelainen’s replacement.

Rovers confirmed: “Having rejected an initial compensation offer made by Dundee United FC earlier today (Sunday), an increased offer has now been accepted which allows our manager Ray McKinnon to meet with United chairman Stephen Thompson.”

The Stark’s Park team’s chief executive Eric Drysdale added: “The RRFC board met pre-match at Easter Road yesterday. Raith Rovers supporters should also be aware that chairman Alan Young and I have met with Ray on Thursday, post-match yesterday and again this afternoon and we are doing all we feasibly can to retain the services of our manager.

“However, we understand that Ray wants to listen to what Dundee United have to say and we have agreed to allow this, having reached agreement on a compensation figure should United offer him the post and Ray accepts.”

The level of compensation United had to pay Rovers for the remaining year on his Stark’s Park contract was not viewed by the Tangerines as a hurdle to making the appointment.

It all adds up to McKinnon becoming boss before Tuesday night’s final home game of the season against Partick Thistle, albeit caretaker coach Gordon Young will continue to pick the team as he did for Friday’s 3-2 win against Inverness Caley Thistle.

United could even decide to let him observe both the Thistle match and the final game of the campaign against Kilmarnock on Saturday from the stand while Young sees out the season in the dugout.

The ex-Lochee United and Brechin City boss would then be starting afresh after the final whistle at Rugby Park, tackling what is the hugely challenging task of shaping a squad capable of getting the Tangerines back up to the Premiership from the Championship at the first time of asking.

McKinnon himself was non-committal after Raith lost 2-1 on aggregate in their promotion play-off clash against Hibs at Easter Road on Saturday, saying: “I’m not really considering my own future. I have another year at Raith.

“I’ll head home, reflect on what’s gone on today, just chill out for a bit and see what happens.”

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