Dundee United’s last-gasp goal grabber Nicky Clark refused to feel sorry for hapless Partick Thistle defender Mouhamed Niang.
Displaying the kind of ruthless streak absolutely expected of a striker in the hurly-burly of a Scottish Cup tie, Clark laughed off any suggestion of sympathy for his opponent.
Niang, who had earlier helped United get their equaliser by playing the ball into Lawrence Shankland’s path inside the box, failed to clear a punt by home captain Mark Reynolds with the clock ticking into the second minute of stoppage-time.
He dithered and then clattered into his own keeper Kieran Wright, who had raced off his line to try to get to the ball.
Clark helped Niang on the way with a push that was missed by referee Steven McLean.
He then calmly rolled the loose ball into the net to send the Tangerines through to the next round.
No messing about
Asked if he felt sorry for a fellow pro, Clark didn’t mess about.
He said: “Nah! I am delighted.
“As long as he is not injured – that’s the main thing – but I don’t feel sorry for him, nah.
“I saw the two of them (defender and goalie) coming and the pitch was really dry so I knew it was going to slow up for me.
“I have seen the goalie sprinting out and the big man was looking at the ball so I knew there was a chance they would collide.”
Perhaps Clark helped that happen with a shove?
Again, he was having none of it.
“Nah. There was no need to,” he claimed, albeit unconvincingly.
“You can tell me later when you see it!”
United were awful in the first half and deserved to be behind to Scott Tiffoney’s header, which was a defensive disaster to almost – but not quite – rival Niang’s shenanigans.
Shankland levelled with 78 minutes gone then Clark grabbed the glory with 92 on the clock to save everyone from extra-time.
“We weren’t at our best, that’s for sure,” admitted Clark.
“We dug in and after going a goal down it takes a bit of character to come back.
“Thankfully we did that and we are in the next round.
“They (Thistle) are a good team, Ian McCall’s a good manager and I’ve played against his teams numerous times in the Championship over the years.
“They are always set up well and are tough to beat, it’s always tight.
“They’ve got a lot of experience, guys like Richard Foster and big Brian Graham, who has been about for years.
“They are a tough side to beat so it’s a great result for us.
“It’s the same with most cup games, you just want to get through no matter how you do it.
“The match wasn’t the prettiest but we are through and we are delighted.
“It was a good cup-tie, there was a quick tempo and as a sub going on it was trying to get up to the pace of the game.
“There was a wee bit of dig about it, too, so it was good and those are the sort of games you want to play in.”
Talking of which, Partick boss Ian McCall accused United defender Ryan Edwards of punching Graham with 15 minutes of the match remaining and his side 1-0 up.
The former Tannadice gaffer said: “Hopefully the BBC pick it up. There is no place for what the big centre-back has done – punching somebody on the pitch.
“We’re really disappointed that the referee and the linesman didn’t see it.
“It was like an amateur or junior game – someone just hooking someone – really bizarre.
“No disrespect to that level of football but that’s what it was. It was blatant
“I’ve been in the game a long time and it’s rare you see something like that.
“When I think of Davie Narey, Paul Hegarty and boys like that who’ve been at Dundee United…
“Maybe he (Edwards) will get punished for it because it’s punished us. We were 1-0 up and if the referee and linesman has saw it, they would had they’d gone to ten men and it would have made such a difference.”