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Ross Graham recalls ‘crazy’ Dinamo Moscow clash as Dundee United eye European nights

European aspirations: Graham
European aspirations: Graham

Ross Graham was a fresh-faced schoolboy in the George Fox Stand when Dundee United last embarked upon a European adventure.

For Graham, the football is a bit of a blur.

A breathless 2-2 draw against Dinamo Moscow unfolded at breakneck speed, with goals from Willo Flood and Keith Watson cancelled out by Igor Semshov and an agonising injury-time leveller by Aleksandr Kokorin.

However, the ‘crazy’ — and rather unseemly — scenes involving the visiting Russian supporters are ingrained in the mind of the United star.

From a Tangerines’ perspective, the less said about the 5-0 defeat in the second leg, the better.

A decade on, and now a Tannadice regular, Graham is front-and-centre as United seek to return to the continental stage. Sitting in fourth spot in the Premiership, it is a realistic prospect.

Trouble broke out in the stands back in 2012

“The objective was to secure top six and we’ve done that,” Graham told Courier Sport. “Hopefully, we can finish the season strongly and get a European place — and bring European occasions back to Tannadice.

“That’s what we want to deliver for the supporters.

“I was here for the Dinamo [Moscow] game and their fans were crazy; that’s about all I can remember from it!

“They were sitting in the Fair Play Stand and it was just mental. They were jumping over the barriers, people were flying about everywhere. I remember that part.

“I was over in the George Fox [Stand] and had some view of it all unfolding — thankfully from a safe distance.”

Keith Watson celebrates his goal

He added: “We’ll go into every game after the split believing that we can win the game and get the points we need to secure that European place.”

Bonus

United assured their top six status with a thrilling 2-2 draw against Dundee on Saturday.

Graham bagged an assist for the opening goal, nodding the ball into the path of Nicky Clark, who headed into an empty net.

A moment of Charlie Mulgrew wizardry — whipping home a sumptuous free-kick — doubled United’s advantage.

But a remarkable collapse in the space of 60 seconds saw Danny Mullen and Charlie Adam rescue a point for the Dee.

Clark celebrates his derby goal, teed up by Graham

Nevertheless, Graham’s rise continued with the sponsors’ man of the match award.

“I didn’t even notice that,” smiled Graham, reflecting on the tannoy announcement of his accolade.

“That’s an extra bonus, to get man of the match in a derby.

Overall, it was an up and down afternoon. We went 2-0 up and, of course, from that point you are looking to see it out.”

Post-split fixtures

However, there is little time to dwell on the result — nor the personal plaudits — as United gear up for the post-split fixtures, which were announced on Monday.

The Tangerines will kick off with home matches against Hearts and Motherwell.

An Old Firm double-header follows, before the campaign concludes with Ross County in Dingwall.

Graham added: “My focus goes straight to the games coming up and finishing strongly.

“At the end the season I’ll look back on the campaign and the moments I’ve had — but right now it’s about the challenges ahead.”

Dundee United target ‘where they belong’ as Tam Courts addresses Calum Butcher absence

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