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4 Dundee United talking points: Money in the bank, pyro palaver, bouncebackability and fond farewells

The United fans enter the pitch
The United fans enter the pitch

Dundee United secured fourth place in the Premiership with a 2-1 victory over Ross County on Saturday.

A Nicky Clark brace cancelled out Blair Spittal’s stunning second-half opener.

Allied with Motherwell’s 6-0 capitulation at Celtic Park, United finished the campaign two points above the Steelmen.

And Courier Sport was in Dingwall to analyse a breathless afternoon of action, on and off the pitch.

A six-figure result

There were moments when the football almost felt like an afterthought, such was the revelry in the away end.

With European football already assured, the United faithful were in town for a party.

However, the professionalism of the players should be saluted — they kept their eye on the ball and got the job done. And their reward is substantial.

Even if United are eliminated in the Europa Conference League third qualifying round, they will bank £470,000, which is £170,000 more than if they were to lose out in the second qualifying round.

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

The higher league placing is worth another six-figure sum.

Courier Sport also understands the success is likely to equate to around a week of extra holiday for the players due to the later start date; never a bad thing.

This was another big result.

Pyro and pitch invasions

The travelling Tangerine Army were a raucous bunch on Saturday.

Close to 2,300 Arabs descended upon Dingwall wielding beachballs, lilos and inflatable palm trees — just in case anyone hadn’t heard the news of United’s return to Europe.

They made an almighty din throughout; a wall of colour and noise. It was a terrific sight.

And, yes, they were heavy on the pyro.

The game was delayed on several occasions due to smoke bombs being lobbed onto the park, which wasn’t a great look.

United fans’ pyro was a spectacular sight but logistical headache

However, it is also illustrative of a growing pattern across the Scottish game. To focus solely on United supporters is not particularly helpful in tackling the overall issue, should the authorities wish to do so.

Either that or have a mature conversation about facilitating the safe use of pyro, given it seems to be here to stay.

The pitch invasions were fevered overkill and, to quote Tam Courts, ‘over-zealous’ — but they were also entirely lacking in malice.

Kevin McDonald picked up a shoulder knock after slipping during the fan-led melee following Nicky Clark’s winner.

A few of the United players privately expressed disappointment that their opportunity to acknowledge the supporters as a whole following a gruelling season was cut short.

Instead, it was a rather manic scene of police and stewards seeking to shepherd fans — chasing selfies with all their heroes — off the pitch.

But a modicum of perspective is useful.

United’s afternoon was neither marred nor overshadowed.

The incursions were about as good-natured as one could possibly imagine; a heady mix of catharsis and cans.

Not a precedent to be encouraged. That much should be made absolutely clear. But po-faced pearl-clutching can be saved for bigger issues afflicting our game.

United can climb off the canvas

Since the turn of the year, United have shown an admirable ability to battle back from a deficit.

Courts’ men have claimed 11 points from losing points since defeating Ross County 2-1 on January 26.

That includes Saturday’s breathless win in Dingwall, the gutsy midweek draw against Celtic and the memorable last-gasp victory at St Mirren in March.

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

United endured a period where they struggled to hold on to a lead and, by the same measure, it is only right to highlight their character when recovering from falling behind.

Dylan Levitt and Benjamin Siegrist bid farewell?

Benjamin Siegrist, wrapped in the flag of Switzerland, took a long look at the sea of Tangerine following Saturday’s match. Taking it all in; soaking up the acclaim. For the last time?

Siegrist is yet to sign a new contract and it appears increasingly likely that he will not do so.

Since arriving at Tannadice in the summer of 2018, he has made 142 appearances and established himself as one of the club’s finest goalkeepers of recent years. It is impossible to grudge him a big move, should one be on the table.

142 appearances for United: Siegrist

Even against County, he made two top saves to deny Harry Paton. The 30-year-old has been back to his best in recent games and was pivotal in United sealing fourth.

Dylan Levitt, on loan from Manchester, may also have played his last game for United — albeit the club will attempt to tempt him back in some form next season.

The Wales international has been the heartbeat of the Tangerines side and, with his recent penchant for spectacular goals, is adored by the Tannadice faithful.

Should he seek pastures new, plenty of Arabs will be faithfully following his career with interest. A real talent.

With the likes of Kevin McDonald, Adrian Sporle, Max Biamou, Ian Harkes and Lewis Neilson also out of contract this summer (the latter two are expected to pen new deals), an intriguing couple of weeks lies ahead.

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

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