Dundee United derby day hero Ian Harkes insists his winning strike was nowhere near the best he’s ever scored – but could be the biggest.
Harkes netted an 81st minute strike from just outside the box as United moved up to fifth with a win over local rivals Dundee.
That win was the third Scottish Premiership success secured during Tam Courts’ reign as United boss.
What a strike 🚀
Ian Harkes puts Dundee United in the lead! pic.twitter.com/5Wtafsa8xS
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) September 19, 2021
It follows victories over champions Rangers and double cup-holders St Johnstone.
Harkes has just six United goals to his name – including two in derby wins over Dundee.
But Sunday’s could be the most significant.
“It’s definitely not the best goal I’ve ever scored,” said American midfielder Harkes. “But it’s one of the biggest.
“The first derby I played in, the 6-2 win, was a great night. This brings back memories.
“It was as good an atmosphere as I’ve known. The fans were brilliant today.
‘Hopefully they can keep coming back in big numbers on Thursday.”
Ian Harkes admits win was ‘fitting tribute’ to Dundee United legend Jim McLean
The win came just hours after a Jim McLean statue was unveiled at Tannadice.
And both Harkes and boss Courts believe the victory was a fitting tribute to the Dundee United legend.
🗣️ 'Jim McLean's a guy with a phenomenal legacy at this club'.
Thomas Courts on the unveiling of Jim McLean's statue ahead of Sunday's Dundee derby ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/wtlVj9JPT8
— BBC Sport Scotland (@BBCSportScot) September 19, 2021
“We spoke about Jim McLean in the build-up to the match,” added Harkes. “We knew it was a big occasion and – especially after his passing – it means a lot to the city and the fans.”
Courts added: “I was at the unveiling and it was a very poignant ceremony.
“The McLean family were here today so, in terms of planning and preparation, the unveiling before the match was a fitting timeline.”
Dundee United will host Hibernian in the Premier Sports Cup quarter-final on Thursday with a chance to secure a trip to Hampden.