Hibee History: UEFA spot achieved on the final day

Colin Nish, right, scored after benefiting from a neat one-two by Liam Miller and David Wotherspoon
Colin Nish, right, scored after benefiting from a neat one-two by Liam Miller and David Wotherspoon
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Hibs sealed a UEFA Cup third qualifying spot thanks to a Colin Nish double that livened up an otherwise quiet final day of the season encounter at Tannadice.

With United having already secured third-place in the SPL and with one-eye on the Scottish Cup final against Ross County the following week, manager Peter Houston made six changes to his side.

Goalkeeper Dusan Pernis replaced Steve Banks in goal and Jennison Myrie-Williams, Pavels Mihadjuks, Andis Shala, Damian Casalinuovo and Kevin Smith were also handed starts.

Andy Webster and Prince Buaben were rested, with Jon Daly, Craig Conway, David Goodwillie and Scott Robertson on the bench.

Hibs made one change despite losing six goals in the record-scoring midweek draw against Motherwell, defender Sol Bamba aiming to impress in place of Paul Hanlon after rumours circulated ahead of the match that Ivory Coast manager Sven-Goran Eriksson would be in attendance.

Prolific Hibees striker Anthony Stokes had the first opportunity of the match, but shot straight at Pernis following a mistake from centre-half Garry Kenneth.

Strike partner Colin Nish went one better soon after, deflecting the ball under Pernis following a one-two between Liam Miller and David Wotherspoon.

United were taking time to settle into the game, but Kenneth almost made amends for the goal, as he powerfully headed Danny Swanson’s corner towards the net, but Wotherspoon was alert at the back post to clear the ball off the line. The recalled Bamba brought come stability to the Hibs back line as the visiting midfield saw a lot of the ball in the opening half.

Pernis saved low from Stokes after Nish fed the striker through, the former Dunfermline man dispossessing Pavels Mihadjuks in midfield.

The game had gone flat, but David Robertson carved out a rare chance for the home side when he spotted Casalinuovo’s forward run, but the Argentine couldn’t keep his header on target. Out of nowhere, John Rankin blasted in a snapshot from the edge of the area, but his drive cannoned back off the base of the post with Pernis beaten. Andis Shala passed up an opportunity for the home side, heading straight at Graeme Smith after beating Steven Thicot to the ball.

Derek Riordan tried a long-range effort, but Pernis was equal to the shot from the former Celtic man. With the game seemingly petering out, Nish stooped to head home his second goal after beating Kenneth to Thicot’s cross.

Europe was guaranteed for the visitors, but United boss Peter Houston would be disappointed that none of his fringe players had given him any selection headaches for the upcoming cup final.

Hibs: Smith, Thicot, Hogg, Bamba, Murray, Wotherspoon, Rankin, Miller, Nish, Riordan, Stokes.