Match Preview – Dundee United vs St.Mirren

Let’s assume that on Tuesday night St.Mirren will be crowned 2017/18 Scottish Championship winners. They thoroughly deserve it. It will be interesting to see what they can achieve next season because although they will be up against it they are a very well run club with a plan for the future and a set of fans who are right behind the team, the board and the manager. They are the absolute antithesis of Dundee United. The title win will come under the lights of Tannadice and there will probably be more St.Mirren fans there than there will be United supporters. I am fully expecting the atmosphere amongst the home fans to be pretty horrible on Tuesday and I would like to congratulate the Saints on their title win. I would also like to thank the Dundee United board, players and management for allowing this to happen and for making this all possible. I’ve seen both Rangers and Celtic win titles at Tannadice and I will be there on Tuesday to see St.Mirren do the same, so as I say, thanks for that.

The Championship table as it stands shows us TWENTY ONE points behind a team that we were slightly ahead of at Christmas time. We are also now in a position where finishing 2nd is out of our hands because Livingston won their crucial game against Greenock Morton yesterday (for anyone like me who has forgotten what this means, apparently this is when you manage to win a really important match). The fact that St.Mirren will win the title against us is almost poetic and it is what these Dundee United players deserve after failure upon failure this season.

Yesterday the latest embarrassment came against Dumbarton, a side in such a dreadful goalscoring run of form that they had not scored a league goal against anyone other than Brechin since Boxing Day. Once again simple mistakes cost us. A ball over the top and two corners gifted Dumbarton three goals. It really is embarrassing and this is quite comfortably the worst group of players to play for the club since I started going to games in 1995. It is the same problems and the same fundamental errors that let us down week after week. The post-match interview from Csaba Laszlo was yet again a repetition of the same sound bites and empty words about players taking responsibility and us needing to learn from our mistakes. I fully expect St.Mirren to tear us apart on Tuesday night.

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With all of that out the way lets look at the state of things as we approach the final five league games. We are currently in 4th spot and we sit three points behind Dunfermline (but have two games in hand over the Pars). Realistically the only other team in contention for a playoff spot would be Greenock Morton who occupy fifth and we are two points ahead of them (with one game in hand). You could argue that Inverness might make a late charge but they would have to go on an amazing run of form to get into the top four. Dunfermline, who only have three games remaining, can realistically hope for nine points out of nine whereas Morton, in my opinion, should be realistically aiming for about 6 or 7. This all means that I would think that to get a playoff spot United will need roughly 6 points out of the final 5 games. With our run-in being St.Mirren, Falkirk, Brechin, Queen of the South and Livingston that might actually be a difficult ask given our current form. What is also painfully clear is that we are not equipped for a promotion playoff challenge and we would undoubtedly fail if we do actually make it.

This season needs to end as soon as possible and Tuesday night will be yet another painful 90 minutes for the supporters. The fact that the opposition will probably leave the pitch as title winners is a fitting tribute to the worst Dundee United side in my lifetime.