Ilmari Niskanen lept off the bench in delight as Tannadice erupted to celebrate Ian Harkes’ derby winner for Dundee United.
With the sound of ‘Beautiful Sunday’ ringing in his ears, the Finnish winger was enjoying the best atmosphere of his career.
Winger Niskanen, 23, has played just twice for United since he was granted a work permit earlier this month following his move from German side FC Ingolstadt 04.
His played his first full game in almost a year at St Mirren and Niskanen admits he’s still finding his feet.
🗣 "It was an easy decision to come to Dundee United. The club said they really wanted me and as a player, you always want to feel that."
📺 Hear from our latest arrival Ilmari Niskanen for the first time in an exclusive free-to-view interview.#UnitedTogether
— Dundee United FC (@dundeeunitedfc) September 10, 2021
He will play in front of the United fans again in Thursday’s Premier Sports Cup quarter-final clash with Hibernian.
And Niskanen is keen to become a crowd-pleaser.
“The atmosphere was absolutely brilliant,” said Niskanen.
“I’m still buzzing. It was my first home game so to make my home debut in a game like that was incredible.
“I was on the bench for the goal but even from there it was an amazing feeling to be able to celebrate.
“The noise for ten minutes after the goal was unbelievable.
Highlights of the Scottish Premiership match between Dundee United and Dundee…⬇ pic.twitter.com/4bp6D7i9x6
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) September 19, 2021
“The derby is a special game. The fans give a bit extra. Players need fans to give them extra energy on the pitch.
“I am nowhere near I want it to be but it will come. It was almost 11 months since my last full game.
“Even though I have been training, matches are a different story.
“I had dreamed of scoring in a derby and celebrating in front of the fans.
“It didn’t happen but I’ll focus on the next game.”
Ilmari Niskanen keen to force his way back into the Finland squad
Niskanen knows there is a personal prize at stake for hitting top form.
He played six times for the Finnish side last year between September and November.
Those games included a 2-0 away win in France.
But after falling out the Ingolstadt side he missed out on Euro 2020.
Now he is hoping he can force his way back into Markku Kanerva’s plans.
“Moving to Scotland will help me get back into the Finland team,” added Niskanen. “It’s always a huge honour to be a part of the Finland squad.
“My focus is playing more here. If I do well then I will get the call-up at some point.
“I won’t stress too much. If it comes, it comes.
“I was part of the squad last Autumn but didn’t play so often in the second half of the season in Germany.
“That meant I dropped out of the international squad and missed the Euros.
“It was Finland’s first-ever major tournament. It would have been great to be involved but the coach needs to pick players who are in good form.
“It’s possible I could get back in the squad for October, I’m aiming for November’s games.”