20 April 2024

Jim Goodwin praises partying Dundee United players after promotion secured

20 April 2024

Jim Goodwin praised his partying Dundee United players for handling the pressure and expectation of being cinch Championship title favourites as they celebrated their return to the Premiership at the first time of asking.

Almost 10,000 Tangerines supporters rolled up at Tannadice to see homegrown striker Chris Mochrie net in the 78th minute and secure a 1-0 win over 10-man Ayr, a result that sparked a jubilant pitch invasion at full-time.

Although they are not arithmetically assured of finishing top of the table just yet, United are six points clear of second- placed Raith Rovers, who would need an unrealistic goal difference swing of 36 over the closing two matches of the campaign to catch the champions-elect.

“The players are enjoying themselves,” said Goodwin. “Anybody who has been in this position before will tell you it’s more a sense of relief than anything else, especially when the expectation and pressure is all on you as a group of players and staff.

“It’s not easy to get over the line but the boys have handled that level of expectation really well, particularly the younger players. It’s been a really enjoyable league campaign.

“It’s great that we’ve been able to do this with a couple of games to spare. We can relax now over the next couple of weeks, we can enjoy our training and look forward to the celebrations we’re going to have after the Partick game with our supporters.”

Goodwin joked that he had no concerns about his side’s partying causing them to squander their healthy goal-difference advantage over the closing two weekends of the campaign.

“Defensively we’ve been solid and scored a huge amount of goals and that has put us in the position that we’re in today where we’re able to celebrate,” he said.

“Of course, it’s not mathematically impossible (to be caught) and people will still say we need to wait a little while before we can be crowned as champions but given how well we’ve been defensively, I don’t see us losing that amount of goals in the next couple of games, regardless of how hard we party over the next few days.”

Ayr boss Scott Brown was frustrated by the decision to send off Nick McAllister on the hour mark after he caught Glenn Middleton with his elbow.

“I thought our lads were exceptional today,” he said. “For us, it is a very harsh red card. But if you put your elbow up, you give the referee that decision to make.

“Fair play to Dundee United for winning the game and all the best for them next season. But I was proud of my lads today.”

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