Premiership play-off semi-final: Dundee Utd 3-0 Inverness CT (4-0 on aggregate)

Osman Sow scored his first goal for Dundee United to put them 2-0 up on the night

Dundee United are two games away from a return to the Scottish Premiership after easing past Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the play-off semi-finals.

With United 1-0 up from the first leg, Nicky Clark rammed in a spot kick after Brad McKay was controversially deemed to have handled Peter Pawlett’s shot.

Osman Sow added a second just after the break to effectively kill the tie, and Pavol Safranko rolled in a late third.

United now face either Hamilton Academical or St Mirren in the final.

The first leg will be at Tannadice on Thursday, with the return three days later at the home of whichever club finishes second bottom of the top flight.

Controversy and saves before goals

A year ago, United lost at this stage to Livingston, having been beaten by Hamilton in the final the season before.

They have spent three years in the Championship since being relegated in 2016 and were runners up to Ross County this term.

United were indebted to goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist, who made three excellent first-half saves to prevent an attacking Inverness CT levelling the tie on aggregate.

And further thanks were needed to referee Kevin Clancy for awarding a penalty in the final few minutes of the first half, when Pawlett’s drive struck McKay’s leg and reared up against his outstretched hand.

Inverness manager John Robertson was sent to the stand for his protestations and the concession proved dispiriting for the weary visitors, who wilted badly in their 11th game since the start of April.

Sow swivelled and scooped in a second – his first for United – nine minutes into the second half after Paul McMullan burrowed into the box and picked him out.

Clark managed to strike an upright twice in quick succession – the second a glaring miss after being presented with an open goal.

But substitutes Safranko and Sam Stanton combined, with the former sliding in a composed angled finish across Mark Ridgers, to clinch United’s victory.

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