Conway brace lifts Terrors
Craig Conway bagged a brace as Dundee United claimed the Scottish Cup final with a 3-0 win over Ross County.
Last Updated: 15/05/10 5:16pm
Craig Conway bagged a second-half brace as Dundee United claimed the Scottish Cup final with a 3-0 win over Ross County.
County upset the likes of Hibernian and Celtic in previous rounds, but the Hampden Park showpiece proved a bridge too far as United claimed their first Scottish Cup since 1994.
The first 45 minutes were something of an anti-climax with a couple of half-chances for Peter Houston's side the closest either side came to netting the opening goal.
Garry Kenneth headed Conway's free-kick over while Alex Keddie got back well to block Danny Swanson's shot after he burst through the midfield.
United began the second half on the front foot and shortly after Swanson headed wide they broke the deadlock when David Goodwillie lofted a shot from distance home after Michael McGovern could only half clear Morgaro Gomis' long ball.
County attempted to respond, but after Martin Scott's measured shot could only find Dusan Pernis the game was up when United made the game safe.
Goodwillie headed the ball on for the dangerous Conway and he skipped past Keddie's challenge before steadying himself and slotting home past McGovern.
Conway made it a day to remember with five minutes remaining when he completed his brace with a neat finish with just four minutes left to clinch the trophy.
United's victory was also good news for fellow SPL side Motherwell, who now have Europa League football to look forward to next season, with the winners already qualified through their league position.
Referee Dougie McDonald had a big call to make with just 11 minutes on the clock when Swanson appeared to be obstructed in the box by Keddie but no penalty award was forthcoming for United.
Other than the penalty claim, chances had been few and far between early on but County were looking dangerous when Iain Vigurs slipped a pass through to Andy Barrowman and his shot came off the leg of Kenneth.
McDonald was prompted into action to produce the first yellow card of the game for Gary Miller for a nasty challenge on Goodwillie, allowing the Tangerines the opportunity to pile on the pressure.
Conway stepped up for the free-kick and picked out the towering figure of Kenneth at the back post but the defender nodded just over the crossbar, to the relief of County fans behind the goal.
United were threatening again from another set-piece, this time Jon Daly collected a long ball from Prince Buaben but his header was tame and easily smothered by goalkeeper McGovern.
Swanson then embarked upon a surging run into the box which had the United fans on their feet only to be denied a clean shot at goal by a well-timed block from Keddie.
With half-time approaching, Andy Webster's header from a Swanson corner smacked off the crossbar but the referee had already spotted his push on a County player and awarded a foul.
United continued where they left off after the restart and there was a tense moment for the Highlanders when Scott Morrison's clearance flashed narrowly past the post of his own goal.
Conway was fouled by Miller and brushed himself off to take the free-kick but a full-stretch Kenneth just failed to connect on this occasion. Swanson then came close with a header that fizzed just wide.
The Tayside club's pressure paid off when they surged into the lead after 61 minutes.
McGovern raced off his line to clear a long ball from Gomis but the ball broke for Goodwillie and, with the goalkeeper stranded, he was able to lob into the back of the net despite the best efforts of the County defence.
The young striker whipped up his jersey revealing a t-shirt which read 'For you nana' and was yellow-carded, as the Tangerine half of the stadium erupted.
Hopes of a County comeback were dashed when United claimed their second of the day with 15 minutes to go. Daly's flick-on was nodded on again by Goodwillie for Conway, who raced into the box before slotting past McGovern into the back of the net.
Conway wrapped up the victory in style four minutes from the end, this time collecting a short pass from Gomis before lashing a ferocious shot beyond the County keeper from just inside the box.
The silverware topped what has been a memorable campaign for Dundee United, who lost manager Craig Levein back in December but regrouped to finish third in the SPL before triumphing in Saturday's Hampden showpiece.