Stephen Craigan returned for a last hurrah and received the thanks of the fans for his long service. Both sets of players applauded him as he received a presentation before the game kicked off.
Storm tossed beach balls had to be cleared from the pitch as the festivities got underway in front of the 7,500 who took advantage of the fiver entry. The visitors scored with their first attack just minutes after the ovation for Craigan on the 5th minute. Randolph managed to beat down a fierce shot from Roberson but it fell to Russell close in and after another stop from the ‘keeper he found the net.
We suffered another blow when Hammell was carried off following an exchange with Swanson. It was a relief to he him join the rest of the team in the post match circuit of the pitch. Clancy replaced him. We had a let off when Rankin’s effort struck the base of the post.
Our attempts to equalise looked most likely to succeed when Humphrey was on the ball. He managed to fire low across the face of goal on a few occasions but we had no takers. Law had a decent shot and a few corners gave us hope but United were still ahead at the break.
Swanson was booked for an assault on Lasley and within minutes offended again. The referee was lenient, possibly because he resisted the temptation to show Jennings a second yellow moments before. Craigan took his final leave in claret and amber in 79 minutes and Ross Forbes was given his farewell. Unfortunately we then lost the second goal. Russell, on the right, set up Daly for an easy finish at the South Stand end and the away supporters (almost 900 of them) knew the points were safe.
The game ended and the players took their bow. They have provided us with a season to remember. Securing third place and an SPL points’ record is no mean achievement and a place in the early stage of the Champions League is a terrific bonus. The chorus that anticipates a European Tour is the perfect way to end 2011/12.