Dundee United count cost of play-off defeat by Hamilton

Dundee United manager Ray McKinnon in despair after his side's defeat by Hamilton Accies. Picture: SNS
Dundee United manager Ray McKinnon in despair after his side's defeat by Hamilton Accies. Picture: SNS
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Dundee United manager Ray McKinnon will sit down with chairman Stephen Thompson this week to discuss the financial implications of the Tannadice club’s failure to reclaim Premiership status.

Yesterday’s 1-0 defeat against Hamilton Accies in the second leg of the play-off final has consigned United to a second consecutive season in the Championship.

Despite posting losses of around £1.5 million in their most recent accounts and implementing a cost-saving programme, Thompson has insisted there will be no threat of administration at the club even if they remained outwith the top flight of Scottish football.

McKinnon, who will now attempt to reshape a squad capable of challenging for the Championship title and automatic promotion next season, admitted to uncertainty over the situation United now find themselves in.

“We’ll look at that next week,” he said. “I don’t know. We’ll see, we’ll see. I’ll have to speak to the powers-that-be and see how the finances are.

“We go again in the summer, I’ll sit down with the chairman and we’ll take it from there. We want to improve the squad, that is a must. I’ve used the same team for the last eight games and it was a game too far today.

“We will take stock and not make any rash decisions. We need to use this as a motivation and learning so we are in a position to win the title next season. It’s an absolute must that we invest in the squad. We were light today and that cost us.”

United captain Cammy Bell appeared close to tears afterwards as he began to absorb the potential impact of yesterday’s result.

“You think about people maybe losing their jobs at the club and that’s the hardest part,” said Bell. “We knew what was at stake. It’s difficult to put into words how the players and staff feel – it’s devastating.”

While United come to term with the consequences of the play-offs, there was relief and satisfaction for Hamilton Accies manager Martin Canning as he ensured a fourth consecutive season in the top flight for the Lanarkshire club.

“Everyone gets frustrated but when you are Hamilton Accies and in the Premiership it’s never plain sailing,” said Canning.

“Everyone stuck together through the hard times, the fans were great today and gave us a loud backing. One thing they will always get from me and from everyone here is 100 per cent effort and I think they saw that today.

“It was a strange game because you wonder if you should celebrate just doing what you set out to do at the start of the season and staying up. But then the emotions come into it.

“We always get written off at the start of every season and you can sort of understand it when you look at the budget and the size of the club.

“This is the first time ever Hamilton has been in the top league for four years in a row, so we’ve made a bit of history. I thought we deserved it and deserved to win the first leg at Tannadice as well, even though it finished 0-0.

“People talked about United’s penalty claim that night but I felt we had a lot of chances as well. There was a lot riding on this game and thankfully we managed to win and stay up.”