They’ve been Championship winners in waiting in the minds of many for months now but last Friday might have been the night where Dundee United all but wrapped up the second tier crown.

Robbie Neilson’s side beat second place Inverness 2-1 thanks to goals from Louis Appere and Lawrence Shankland. Now 21 points clear at the top, the Tangerines made sure their closest competitors couldn’t gain a glimmer of hope.

Shankland netted again. (Photo by Paul Harding – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

It has brought the inevitable that bit closer- Dundee United will return to the Premiership after finding themselves outside of Scotland’s top flight since 2016.

They can’t be matched, surely

Whilst not mathematically done and dusted quite yet, there’s more chance of aliens landing on the Tannadice turf than there is another Championship side doing seven games better than United between now and May.

11 games remain for Neilson’s side in the Championship. Between 76-78 points should be enough for them to win the crown this year when you take into account games in hand and who each team still has to play this term.

Rivals are in the distance. (photo by David Young/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Just two points separate second and fifth, with the likelihood that everyone in the division will drop some points between now and May pretty high. United could have it signed, sealed and delivered in the later stages of March potentially.

But realistically, whether it’s next week or next month, the Tangerines’ victory on Friday just about puts them over the line. It’s not quite time for the summer holidays but they might as well get the boarding passes out for inspection.

Against Inverness it was a struggle at times but once again it was Lawrence Shankland stepping up to the plate, firing his 24th Championship goal of 2019/20 past Mark Ridgers to give United an unassailable advantage.

Goal machine. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

They have been asked tough questions in recent weeks. A defeat to Arbroath plus draws with Alloa and Morton had a few worrying that the Tannadice title tilt was potentially affecting United.

No wins in five taking into account the two Scottish Cup matches with Hibs warranted a response and Neilson’s men delivered a pretty emphatic one. It should now be enough for them to waltz over the finishing line as top flight football beckons.

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