HAD the Dundee United players shuffled disconsolately out of Tannadice on Thursday evening, the concession of a deflected stoppage-time goal having punctured their swelling spirits, it would have been entirely understandable.
After all, little more than 12 months have passed since a similarly fortunate effort allowed Slask Wroclaw to terminate the continental ambitions of Peter Houston's side last season.
On that July evening, the United squad were woebegone but the difference this time was the defiance in their words. Granted, the Europa League tie with Dinamo Moscow has at least 90 minutes yet to play but both the public and private utterances of the players were laced with an inherent belief that they can still emerge triumphant from this contest. Indeed, as the celebrations of the detained Russian supporters continued a few yards away, the United players quietly confided both their surprise at how lackadaisical Sergei Silkin's side were and also how they were convinced they could score in the Arena Khimki on Thursday evening.
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