Mikkelsen goal pays off

Substitute Thomas Mikkelsen headed the winner as Dundee United beat St Mirren in the Irn-Bru Cup final.

The Dane converted Simon Murray’s 74th-minute cross to earn United a 2-1 victory in front of 8,089 fans at Motherwell.

St Mirren had dominated the early stages and Rory Loy levelled less than 60 seconds after Tony Andreu volleyed United into the lead in the 37th minute.

But Saints could not carve out a chance after Mikkelsen’s goal as United won the trophy for the first time – they lost to Stenhousemuir in the final 21 years ago.

The same two teams met in the Scottish Cup final three decades ago when Ian Ferguson’s extra-time strike earned the Paisley team a surprise win. United also reached the UEFA Cup final that season after beating Barcelona home and away but the recent 30th anniversaries of those triumphs only served to highlight their recent difficulties.

They have slipped to fourth in the Ladbrokes Championship after winning one of their last 10 league games and bottom club St Mirren arrived at Fir Park as the form team after four wins in six league games revived their survival hopes.

That fact was reflected on and off the park with the Saints fans bringing more numbers, noise and enthusiasm and their team responding with the brighter start.

Loy diverted Lewis Morgan’s driven cross off the post and the latter shot just wide after being played through by John Sutton, who scored the winner for St Mirren in the 2005-06 final.

Andreu shot just wide from 20 yards but Kyle Magennis drew a save at the other end and United’s opener came against the run of play.

St Mirren were guilty of some hesitant defending on their left and Andreu took advantage when his ball towards Murray was blocked back into his path. The on-loan Norwich player struck a first-time volley from 22 yards which bounced into the far corner.

Saints levelled from the kick-off. Gary Irvine made a purposeful run and passed inside for Loy, who silenced the United fans by side-footing the ball inside the far post. The on-loan Dundee striker ran towards the United fans and held his finger to his lips.

St Mirren had a great chance to take the lead just before half-time but Gary McKenzie headed wide from Stephen Mallan’s corner.

They continued to have the edge in possession in an open start to the second half but there were few clear-cut chances until Mikkelsen rose to head home Murray’s cross from six yards.

United missed a series of chances on the break as St Mirren pushed forward but two goals proved enough.

Substitute Thomas Mikkelsen headed the winner as Dundee United beat St Mirren in the Irn-Bru Cup final.

The Dane converted Simon Murray’s 74th-minute cross to earn United a 2-1 victory in front of 8,089 fans at Motherwell.

St Mirren had dominated the early stages and Rory Loy levelled less than 60 seconds after Tony Andreu volleyed United into the lead in the 37th minute.

But Saints could not carve out a chance after Mikkelsen’s goal as United won the trophy for the first time – they lost to Stenhousemuir in the final 21 years ago.

The same two teams met in the Scottish Cup final three decades ago when Ian Ferguson’s extra-time strike earned the Paisley team a surprise win. United also reached the UEFA Cup final that season after beating Barcelona home and away but the recent 30th anniversaries of those triumphs only served to highlight their recent difficulties.

They have slipped to fourth in the Ladbrokes Championship after winning one of their last 10 league games and bottom club St Mirren arrived at Fir Park as the form team after four wins in six league games revived their survival hopes.

That fact was reflected on and off the park with the Saints fans bringing more numbers, noise and enthusiasm and their team responding with the brighter start.

Loy diverted Lewis Morgan’s driven cross off the post and the latter shot just wide after being played through by John Sutton, who scored the winner for St Mirren in the 2005-06 final.

Andreu shot just wide from 20 yards but Kyle Magennis drew a save at the other end and United’s opener came against the run of play.

St Mirren were guilty of some hesitant defending on their left and Andreu took advantage when his ball towards Murray was blocked back into his path. The on-loan Norwich player struck a first-time volley from 22 yards which bounced into the far corner.

Saints levelled from the kick-off. Gary Irvine made a purposeful run and passed inside for Loy, who silenced the United fans by side-footing the ball inside the far post. The on-loan Dundee striker ran towards the United fans and held his finger to his lips.

St Mirren had a great chance to take the lead just before half-time but Gary McKenzie headed wide from Stephen Mallan’s corner.

They continued to have the edge in possession in an open start to the second half but there were few clear-cut chances until Mikkelsen rose to head home Murray’s cross from six yards.

United missed a series of chances on the break as St Mirren pushed forward but two goals proved enough.