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Ross County 1-2 Dundee United: Nicky Clark double seals Premiership 4th spot for Tam Courts’ Tangerines

Clark was the United hero
Nicky Clark finished the campaign with 10 goals

Nicky Clark bagged a brace as Dundee United defeated Ross County to secure fourth place in the Premiership.

Blair Spittal opened the scoring from distance, only for Clark to level from the penalty spot within five minutes.

And Clark sealed the three points in the dying embers.

With Motherwell losing at Celtic, the victory sees United finish two points above the Steelmen and will enter next season’s Europa Conference League at the third qualifying round stage.

Get the party started

The Terrors were roared on by a raucous 2,300-strong following.

Beachballs, lilos and inflatable palm trees were the order of the day as the Tangerine Army toasted their return to Europe.

Kick-off was delayed due to the avalanche of pyro and ticker tape which greeted the United players taking to the field.

When referee Nick Walsh finally received the green light to start the contest, the visitors had a job to do: better Motherwell’s result at Celtic Park and pinch fourth.

Width of the post

Archie Meekison, a standout in United’s last three matches, flashed a dangerous drive narrowly wide following a fine pass by Ross Graham.

The 20-year-old would come even closer later in the half, rattling the base of the post following a fine surge through the heart of the County defence. A player with a big future.

Meanwhile, Spittal seemed on a mission to torment his erstwhile employers.

The packed away section
The packed away section

The waspish playmaker had three pops at goal during a busy first period, with one powerful low drive zipping inches past Benji Siegrist’s left-hand post.

Spittal stunner

It remains to be seen whether United can tempt Manchester United loan star Dylan Levitt back to Tannadice next term.

However, he should have marked his farewell — for now — with a goal in the second period, scuffing a shot wide following a kind ricochet in the box.

Tam Courts took the acclaim of the fans prior to kick off
Tam Courts took the acclaim of the fans prior to kick off

With Celtic hammering Motherwell in Glasgow, United knew avoiding defeat in Dingwall would be enough to usurp the Steelmen.

But it would be the Staggies who struck first.

Spittal finally found his range, collecting the ball on the edge of the box a curling a sumptuous shot past Siegrist.

Job done

Chasing a leveller, Kieran Freeman almost obliged in bizarre fashion, striking the post with a wayward cross.

But County’s lead did indeed prove fleeting.

Spittal opened the scoring

Ilmari Niskanen was brought down by Paton in the box, allowing Clark — invariably clinical from the spot — to coolly slot home the resulting penalty.

Kevin McDonald almost slammed home a sensational goal from 30 yards, while Tony Watt saw a header cleared off the line.

But the winner did eventually come after 89 minutes. Freeman produced a perfect low cross for Clark to slot home from close-range — sparking a pitch invasion.

United fans also spilled onto the field at full-time but were eventually able to acclaim their heroes for a final time this term.

Mark Ogren: I can’t fund Dundee United forever but we WILL become self-sufficient

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