It came in the 64th minute. With the hosts already trailing to a Trai Hume header – courtesy of a bit of slapstick goalkeeping from the flappy Carljohan Eriksson – Charlie Mulgrew decided to raise the stakes. Some 40 yards out on the right-hand side, the defender turned and fired the ball back to the Finn without looking. Had he even momentarily glanced up, he would have seen Eriksson, who plays as a sweeper keeper, was out of his goal. The ball scooted past the stunned goalie and while he hurtled back to try and stop it crossing the goal-line, his efforts were to no avail.
The patrons at Tannadice are unlikely to see such a bizarre goal for some time. While Eriksson was at fault for the first goal with a meek punch from a routine cross, there was little he could do to stop Mulgrew.
The former Celtic player’s moment of madness put Dundee United 2-0 down and the score remained the same thereafter.
Jack Ross’ team, shorn of injured midfielder Dylan Levitt and experienced striker Steven Fletcher, were second best for most of this clash with Alex Neil’s English Championship outfit, with Scotland striker Ross Stewart impressing, even if he missed a handful of chances. Former Celtic winger Patrick Roberts was also a pest to Dundee United, who will discover their Europa Conference League third qualifying round opponents when the draw is made on Monday.