Dundee United manager Ray McKinnon was last night on the brink of being sacked after directors quickly convened in the wake of the club’s latest domestic set-back to discuss his future.
McKinnon was left pledging to carry on the fight, but maintained only chairman Stephen Thompson can decide if he’s allowed to take things any further.
Within minutes of this abject 2-0 defeat by resurgent Inverness at Tannadice, which prompted further unrest among supporters, board members got together to mull things over amid concerns their title aspirations could disappear over coming weeks should things fail to improve drastically.
McKinnon watched his side slump to back-to-back league defeats as they were roundly jeered off after going down to goals in the first half from Iain Vigurs and Connor Bell, leaving them trailing league leaders St Mirren by five points as they desperately crave a return to the Premiership.
“I can understand the supporters frustration”, conceded McKinnon afterwards. “We all want the same thing. And they were right to boo at the end. Emotions are obviously running high right now. I take responsibility for that performance as much as the players.
“That’s the worst we’ve played since I’ve been Dundee United manager. Of course, I feel the pressure. There’s been pressure since the day I took the job and there will be pressure next weekend whether I’m in the job or not.
“I’d like to think I’ll be here next week but that will be someone else’s decision. I hope they’re hurting like I am. The Dumbarton game is now huge. I’m very disappointed and frustrated because we’re so much better that that.
“We shot ourselves in the foot with the goals we lost and then I didn’t see the reaction I wanted after that.
“We gave ourselves a mountain to climb. We spoke at half-time and we wanted a reaction in that second-half and after about 15 minutes there was no response.”
United were bidding to bounce back from their 2-0 defeat away to Livingston the week before but Inverness threatened first after just five minutes when Liam Polworth’s flighted free-kick was met by Carl Tremarco, whose free header went straight into the hands of home Keeper Harry Lewis.
Then, just a few minutes later, Polworth delivered a driven corner for striker John Baird who headed over the bar from just a few yards in another let-off for the hosts.
However, Inverness took the lead in 28 minutes. Polworth’s corner wasn’t properly cleared by Willo Flood and Vigurs rattled a left-foot shot from just inside the box out with the reach of on-loan Southampton kid Lewis.
The Highlanders proceeded to double their lead in simple fashion in 37 minutes.
Jake Mulraney had acres of space to cross for Bell who only had to simply tap home his finish from inside the six-yard box.
Inverness remained on top after the break with Joseph Chalmers testing Lewis with a powerful drive within minutes of the restart.
Tremarco had a golden opportunity to kill the contest in 55 minutes but was thwarted by Lewis from point-blank range as the home fans vented their frustration.
United failed miserably to bring out a save from Ridgers who was a virtual spectator while the hosts toiled to threaten towards the end.
Inverness manager John Robertson said: “We’ve been playing like that for a few weeks now. But here we really got what we deserved.
“All the hard work they’re putting in on the training ground is starting to pay off.
“Hopefully that’s a sign that we can start to look in the right direction because there’s still a long way to go.”