Friends and family, team-mates past and present as well as former managers gathered at Tannadice this evening to pay tribute to Dundee United’s long-serving captain Sean Dillon in his testimonial against Hearts.
Over 3,000 supporters also turned out to recognise the contribution of a player who has been a fantastic servant to the Tangerines and one of the genuine nice guys in Scottish football.
In an era when contracts are usually measured in a matter of months, Dillon’s 10-year stint at Tannadice is nothing short of incredible.
The Irishman was, of course, one of the club’s 2010 Scottish Cup-winning heroes and others from that side including Andy Webster, Prince Buaben, Craig Conway, Danny Swanson and Garry Kenneth were in the testimonial squads.
Both sides lined up to form a guard of honour as the man of the moment emerged from the tunnel with his young sons by his side.
Dillon, who injured his ankle against St Mirren last week, kicked off the match and then left the pitch after just a few seconds receiving the acclaim of the fans.
There was little in the way of clear-cut chances from either side in the opening stages with the game being played at a less than frantic pace.
The Jambos did have a great opportunity to take the lead in the 38th minute but Stewart Murdoch made a superb goal-line clearance from a Rory Currie effort.
United teenager Logan Chalmers then came agonisingly close to opening the scoring in the 43rd minute, hitting the woodwork with a shot and then having his follow-up header saved by Viktor Noring.
Craig Levein took charge of Hearts for the second half with Scottish Cup-winning manager Peter Houston in the home dug-out.
The deadlock was finally broken just two minutes after the restart when Barry Robson hit a superb long-range strike – into his own net – to give Hearts the lead.
They then made it two when Currie netted from a tight angle.
United pulled a goal back in the 60th minute when a corner was headed on by Daly for Noel Hunt to nod home from close range.
However, the icing was put on the cake in the 91st minute when Dillon’s six-year-old son Shea came on to score for his dad, to make it 2-2 at the final whistle.
Attendance – 3,260.
Dundee United Starting XI – Long, Murdoch, Donaldson, Kalvenes, Robson, Coote, Kuate, Rankin, Van der Velden, Hunt, Moore.
Hearts Starting XI – Noring, L. Smith, Avlonitis, Buaben, Oshaniwa, Beith, Kitchen, Martin, Choulay, Currie, Johnsen.