Proud Ray McKinnon believes the way his Dundee United players won the Challenge Cup on Saturday showed why they can still win promotion to the Premiership.
United went into Saturday’s Fir Park showdown on the back of a horrendous run of results in the Championship this year.
And when they conceded an equaliser to St Mirren just 60 seconds after taking a first-half lead through Tony Andreu, he feared it could have been a killer.
But the Tangerines roared back in the second half to lift the trophy thanks to a Thomas Mikkelsen header 15 minutes from time and the word their manager felt summed that up was “character”.
“In a sick way, to lose that goal so soon after going ahead thanks to a spectacular goal from Tony, was just what we needed,” he said.
“It’s the kind of thing that’s been happening to us recently and we’ve been suffering because of it, but this time we responded and that has to give the boys confidence.
“We had a chat at half-time about doing the things we are good at and that meant passing the ball.
“We’re not a team that wins when we get involved in battles, we do it by playing good football and that’s what we did in the second half.
“We couldn’t do anything about the goal once we’d lost it.
“It was about making sure we played the right way in the second half and I thought the boys were great.
“Everyone played their part, but I have to mention Ali Coote and Jamie Robson — they are both just 18, but they handled the final brilliantly and great credit to them for that.”
While getting United back to the Premiership remains Ray’s big goal, as a life-long fan, joining Jim McLean, Ivan Golac and Peter Houston in managing the club to national final success was not lost on him.
“I’m delighted. This is massive for me because nobody loves this club more than me or wants them to do well more than me.
“I want us back where we belong. This is just a step in the right direction and there is a long way to go, but I’m delighted to win a cup for Dundee United, it’s a great feeling for me and the players.”
Today it’s back to league duty for the Tangerines when Ayr United visit Tannadice and the good news is there are no fresh injuries worries for that one.