Robbie Neilson praised Highland hero Paul McMullan as Dundee United edged ahead in this Premiership play-off semi-final.
United head to Tannadice on Friday to face Inverness Caley Thistle knowing the job is only half done.
However, it is the Tangerines who have the crucial 1-0 first-leg lead thanks to McMullan’s smart thinking after substitute Nicky Clark hit the post on 78 minutes at the Caledonian Stadium last night.
The United boss said: “I thought Paul was excellent.
“He covered a lot of ground for us and took his goal really well.
“Going off with cramp probably summed up his performance.
“The wee man was great.
“He did really well to follow in and showed great technique to put the ball in.
“Nicky Clark also did very well coming off the bench.”
Neilson felt ICT had made it tough for them, despite John Robertson’s men playing almost all of the second half with only 10 men after Liam Polworth was sent off for kicking Mark Connolly in the head.
The United boss added: “This was always going to be a very tough game.
“There was an edge to it and there was a nervousness.
“The tie is far from over because Inverness will come to Tannadice with nothing to lose and have all guns blazing.
“We are just glad to see tonight out and get a bit of a cushion.
“A few of the lads are feeling the rigours of this match and we will need to get them ready for Friday now.”
Neilson was unhappy with Coll Donaldson’s first-half foul on Peter Pawlett, which earned the ex-United defender a yellow rather than red card.
He said: “I thought it was a very bad tackle.”