Dundee United spent last year seeking the holy grail of top six football – but after this thrilling win at Hibernian they can shoot for Europe.
United ripped Hibernian apart with their best display of the season as goals from Nicky Clark, Ryan Edwards and Kieran Freeman saw them claim victory in the capital.
It was their first win at Hibernian in seven years and it has set the template for what is shaping up to be a glorious campaign by United.
Top six must now be their minimum aim with European football a real possibility on this form.
Declan Glass impresses on Dundee United return at Hibernian
It was a huge day for youngster Declan Glass who was making his first start for Dundee United in 21 months.
Glass was out for over a year with a serious knee injury he sustained before kicking a ball during a loan spell at Partick Thistle last year.
He came in for the injured Dylan Levitt.
With new signing Max Biamou on the bench, United started well and created the game’s first real chance on 21 minutes.
Nicky Clark set up Ilmari Niskanen and his low 20-yard strike was turned round by Hibs keeper Matt Macey.
Hibs’ threat, as expected, came via speed-merchant Martin Boyle.
A roar of anticipation went up from the home crowd every time Boyle touched the ball, but Scott McMann coped admirably with his threat.
And with Glass pulling the strings in the heart of midfield, United looked most likely to take the lead.
Clark blasted over from 20 yards in 32 minutes and Ian Harkes had a low effort blocked by Macey from a similar range.
And the goal their play so richly deserved came bang on half-time.
The build-up was delightful and the finish sublime.
Pawlett and Harkes combined to set up Clark who superbly curled the ball beyond Macey from the edge of the box.
Edwards doubles Dundee United’s advantage
United fans were celebrating again in 52 minutes as Edwards put them 2-0 up.
The Liverpool-born defender rose superbly to meet a McMann cross and bullet home a header from six yards.
— Ewan Smith (@ewansmithpr) October 16, 2021
Incredibly, the scoring hadn’t finished there for United.
With Hibernian chasing a way back into the game, Niskanen broke clear inside the box and played a superb cutback to Freeman, who slotted home from close range.
It wasn’t Hibs’ day.
The one time they did beat Benjamin Siegrist – via a 15-yard Kevin Nisbet effort – they hit the post.
Hibernian v Dundee United teams
Hibernian: Macey; Doig, Hanlon, Wood, Cadden, Doyle-Hayes, Newell, Allan (Scott 46), Nisbet, Boyle, Murphy. Subs not used: Dabrowski, Wright, Gogic, Stevenson, Gullan, McGregor, Scott.
Dundee United: Siegrist; Freeman, McMann, Edwards, Mulgrew, Fuchs, Glass (Hoti 59), Harkes, Niskanen, Pawlett, Clark (Biamou 80). Subs not used: Newman; Chalmers, Mochrie, Appere, Smith.
Referee: Alan Muir.