Tangerines braced for overhaul
Dundee Utd 3
Ross County 0
AS Scotland's unofficial double winners, Dundee United will today begin the process of coming to terms with their achievement and the likely consequences.
Peter Houston will be invited to convert his position as interim manager into a more permanent appointment and then he and the Tannadice chairman, Stephen Thompson, will consider how to equip their squad for the challenge of building on a great accomplishment.
United finished as Scottish Cup holders and best of the rest outside the Old Firm in the Scottish Premier League and savoured their feat while parading through Dundee yesterday in the traditional open-topped bus.
Amongst the party were ex-Shelbourne full-back Sean Dillon and former Ireland U-21 striker Jon Daly, who both played the full 90 minutes. Their 3-0 victory over Ross County at Hampden Park on Saturday not only gave them the Scottish Cup for only the second time in their 101-year history, it allowed them to bypass the midsummer qualifying stages for the Europa League and put them straight into the play-off round for the 48-team group stage.
In addition, United have exceeded their budget calculations for the season. The fine calculations have still to be made by the Scottish FA for the division of revenue from the Scottish Cup, but in approximate terms the TV revenue of £600,000 will be supplemented by around £900,000 from ticket sales for Saturday. Running costs for the occasion are covered by a 20pc deduction and a further 5pc is levied by the SFA towards its overall budget.
Both finalists can expect about £500,000 to add to the money they accumulated en route. United, then, are in a healthier position than most of their SPL counterparts, but there will be enforced changes to the squad.
Andy Webster, who captained the side to victory at Hampden, is at the end of his loan spell from Rangers and since they have lost Danny Wilson to Liverpool and may well see Madjid Bougherra leave in the summer, they will require Webster's services, all the more so since the current Ibrox captain, David Weir, turned 40 a week ago.
Rangers, who will not be allowed off the financial leash by Lloyds TSB and who are also soon to say goodbye to Nacho Novo and Kris Boyd, have been watching David Goodwillie, scorer of the first goal against Ross County, and Craig Conway, whose late double killed any chance of a recovery by the Highlanders. However, the value of both players has been enhanced by United's unforeseen revival under Houston and Conway has another year on his contract, while Goodwillie is signed until 2012.
Thompson has already said he wants full value for any player who leaves Tannadice this summer and Goodwillie now has a price tag of £1m.
"The players we've got deserve to be getting linked with clubs down in England," United midfielder David Robertson said. "We've finished third in the league and won the Scottish Cup. It's all credit to the players."
Ross County, too, wonder what the close season holds for them. Their share of Saturday's earnings is the equivalent of a full year's budget for their first division operation and with the continued backing of their millionaire supporter and businessman, Roy McGregor, the Victoria Park club are not impoverished. Whether or not they can retain Derek Adams is another matter.
The 34-year-old manager has already been linked with the vacancy at St Mirren and his track record will certainly tempt other suitors.
County may have retreated up the A9 without making history as the first club from the Highlands to win the Scottish Cup but, along with the exultant United support, the Staggies' following emphasised that the tournament had found apt sponsors. Scottish football does indeed possess an Active Nation outside the Old Firm. (© Daily Telegraph, London)