Conway puts the Tangerines in dreamland

Dundee United 3 Ross County 0

Even if the novelty and, we might even say some of the glory, belonged to Ross County, the triumph of this day was solely that of Dundee United. They lifted the trophy, their first major honour in 16 years, after a performance of calm proficiency. As a team they were poised, but the most acclaimed individuals were also wearing tangerine jerseys, and the scoreline was a reflection of their growing stature.

This was an occasion with the power to empty not only a town in the Highlands but much of an entire area that considers itself marginalised in Scottish football. Dingwall has a population of 5,000, yet Ross County sold 17,000 tickets for Hampden, and such a mass movement of people was anticipated that roadworks in the A9 from Inverness were suspended for the weekend. Even the local Highland League football clubs and shinty teams postponed their fixtures for the day.

There was, too, something hopeful in Donnie MacBean, the County secretary, liaising with Uefa during the week to ensure that the club's Victoria Park stadium would be suitable for Europa League games, which they would play next season if they won.

Ross County's run to the final, which included defeating Hibernian in the quarter-finals and Celtic, whom they outplayed with a comprehensive assuredness, in the semi-finals, has been a stirring confounding of expectations. A First Division side who only left the Highland League in 1994, they are deeply committed to the values of the local community. Had they won, the open-top bus tour of Dingwall was to be held tomorrow rather than today, as the Free Presbyterian Church is a paramount influence.

Dundee United, though, have been redoubtable all season. As the first half progressed, it was United who grew in prominence, with Garry Kenneth and Andy Webster, the centre-backs, alert for any opportunity to deliver long balls over the head of the County full-back Gary Miller and into the path of Craig Conway.

Three times before the interval, Conway created chances from the left. Prince Buaben and Jon Daly headed over from the winger's crosses, while Alex Keddie, the County centre-back, cleared from the six-yard line as David Goodwillie chased Conway's astute through-ball. County's only attempt of the first half was an Andrew Barrowman shot from 18 yards that was blocked at close range.

For all their tenacity, United are capable of ingenuity as well, and their gifted players began to assert themselves. When Sean Dillon sent a hopeful long ball forward from full-back, Michael McGovern, the County goalkeeper, raced out of his penalty area and headed clear, but the ball fell to Goodwillie and the striker shaped a brilliant lob into the empty net.

The goal was liberating, as County were suddenly and terribly subdued, as though confronted with a stark realisation. Fourteen minutes later, Conway set off on a savage run at goal before sliding a shot past McGovern. The game's most adroit figure added a third before the end, converting Morgaro Gomis's cross from close range.

He said: "To score two and win, it's unbelievable. All week we've been built up as favourites and told we'll become legends if we win it, that's a lot of pressure and I thought the lads dealt with that well. We dominated from start to finish."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence