Dundee United vs St MirrenScottish Premiership, KO: 19:45 May 23, 2019, Tannadice
ST MIRREN were hoping a victory in Dundee would help preserve their Premiership status last weekend.
It didn't come to pass but another Tayside triumph at the opposite end of Sandeman Street would go a long way towards securing safety.
Oran Kearney's men headed to Dens on Saturday with high hopes of pipping Hamilton to 10th place and avoiding the dreaded relegation play-off.
They did their bit, with Cody Cooke's hat-trick sealing a thrilling 3-2 win, only for Accies to keep their noses in front with a 2-0 victory at home to St Johnstone.
That consigned St Mirren to a shoot-out with Dundee United, who eventually eased to a 4-0 aggregate win over Inverness in their play-off semi-final.
That second leg at Tannadice was a profitable one for me, with all three of my tips coming up as Nicky Clark's penalty set the tone for a victory with a clean sheet.
Belief is growing that United are set for a return to the top tier after three years in the Championship and fans were apparently queuing for final tickets after streaming out of Tannadice in the wake of the semi-final.
The Buddies also took a huge support to Dens at the weekend and fans will travel in numbers again so there could be a full house at Tannadice.
This is a tough one to call as both sides are in excellent form. St Mirren have lost just once in eight games, to champions Celtic, and Kearney has finally got them playing as a team.
United's form is almost as a good, with just one loss in seven, and beating a good Inverness side by such a large margin in the semis was impressive.
They were helped by some poor refereeing, with Caley Thistle boss John Robertson upset about Liam Polworth's first-leg red card and even more enraged by the penalty that gave United their opener at Tannadice.
But Robbie Neilson's men were impressive going forward, with Paul McMullan a huge threat down the right and strikers Clark, Osman Sow and Pavol Safranko a constant menace.
It will be interesting to see who gets the nod to play up front after Clark, Sow and Safranko all scored in the second leg against Caley Thistle. Three into two doesn't go and Clark will be hoping his amazing open-goal miss late in the Inverness clash doesn't count against him.
Dad Sandy has already tasted play-off glory, with the Queen of the South No.2 enjoying a victory over Raith in the Championship shoot-out.
Now Clark wants to make it a double but he might start on the bench after a minor injury saw him substituted late in the semi-final. Safranko impressed as a scoring sub against Caley Thistle and the Slovak looks the best bet for a United scorer, at 15/8 with Paddy Power to net at any time.
But Safranko's impact off the bench was nothing compared to that of St Mirren striker Cooke at Dens. The Buddies looked punchless up front in the first half as they struggled to lay a glove on a Dundee side playing with 10 men.
All that changed after Cooke's introduction, with the Englishman giving them a focal point. He looked a huge threat and will surely start the final after his hat-trick heroics. Cooke is 7/2 with Paddy Power for anytime scorer and that looks generous after his weekend performance.
United came out on top when these sides met in the Scottish Cup, winning 2-1 in Paisley thanks to goals from Clark and Safranko despite playing the last 25 minutes with 10 men.
But that came when the Buddies were struggling for confidence, with Kearney's January signings still settling in. It's a different story now and I just can't pick a winner.
So try going for goals instead, with both teams to score available at 10/11 with Boylesports. I also like the look of over 2.5 goals at 119/100 with Marathonbet while Ladbrokes are offering evens on a goal being scored in each half.
This Scottish Premiership match between Dundee United and St Mirren will be played on May 23, 2019 and kick off at 19:45