Dundee United: Ray McKinnon hails Terrors desire after play-off win

Ray McKinnon celebrates after Dundee United beat Falkirk
Ray McKinnon has guided Dundee United to the Premiership play-off final

Ray McKinnon hailed the resilience of his Dundee United team, after they came from behind to beat Falkirk and seal a place in the Scottish Premiership play-off final.

Late goals from Simon Murray and Paul Dixon meant United knocked out their hosts 4-3 on aggregate.

The Terrors face Inverness or Hamilton Academical for a top-flight place.

"I've been saying it for weeks, the desire to win games is there and that's all you can ask," McKinnon said.

"We were down to the bare bones, walking wounded, there were players on there with injuries - Willo Flood, Thomas Mikkelsen - and they've delivered, so I've got to give them a lot of credit."

Dundee United players and supporters celebrate after Simon Murray scores against Falkirk
Dundee United were backed in Falkirk by a large travelling support

After the first semi-final leg at Tannadice finished all-square at 2-2, Falkirk led the second meeting after 11 minutes when James Craigen fired a low volley in off the post.

"I thought 15-20 minutes before the first half finished we passed the ball very well and had good control of the game," McKinnon told BBC Scotland.

"I said (at half-time), if we can go and do that second-half, score the first goal, I think we'll go on and win the game.

"You need to believe that if we score the next goal, you'll go on to win the game, because they either go defensive, or they open up. And they did it, so a lot of credit to the players in there."

'We got our just rewards'

The Falkirk Stadium had proved a barren venue for United this season, suffering 3-1 and 3-0 defeats respectively.

But match-winner Dixon headed home Alex Nicholls' cross with three minutes of normal time remaining to settle the tie - the 30-year-old's first goal in some five years.

"I've been watching the game and there have been three or four balls that have come through the back," Dixon said.

Paul Dixon
Paul Dixon's first goal in five years snatched victory for Dundee United

"I saw Alex (Nicholls) on the corner of the box and I just thought, I'm getting in the back post this time, and luckily enough it worked out.

"The dressing room was absolutely buzzing. Coming from behind, at Falkirk's place, we've not done great here this season. What a feeling to get into the final with a comeback like that.

"(Ray McKinnon) sat us down at half-time, and basically told us to focus and get the football going. Towards the end of the first half we did start to find our feet.

"It is different playing on a plastic pitch, but I think we got to grips with it, and second-half we came out all guns blazing, we went for it, and got our just rewards."

Falkirk manager Peter Houston was left to rue the misfortune at the winning goal but feels it was preventable.

"I'm a great believer in stopping crosses at source, before they come in to the box," he said.

"Paul Dixon has come in at the back post against Tom Taiwo and his header has come off Tom and looped over Robbie Thomson.

"I don't think we deserved that but good luck to Dundee United. I wish them well in the final.

"We have to look through the summer and find some players who will enhance the squad. For a club with the resources we have the players have done remarkably well. It's not a night for criticising players. There was nothing between the teams and a freak goal has won them the match."

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