Butcher driven by pain of play-offs


CALUM BUTCHER has re­vealed how the mem­ory of suf­fer­ing Premier­ship play-off fi­nal heartache against St Mir­ren is ac­tively spurring Dundee United on to seal a cov­eted top-flight re­turn this sea­son.

Butcher has been a ma­jor driv­ing force for Rob­bie Neil­son’s re­lent­less Cham­pi­onship pace­set­ters who lead near­est chal­lengers In­ver­ness by 13 points go­ing into tonight’s tele­vised Tan­nadice derby with city ri­vals Dundee.

Back in May, though, the tear­ful Tan­ger­ines were left heart­bro­ken when they squan­dered a golden op­por­tu­nity to clinch their place back in the top tier of Scot­tish foot­ball by miss­ing all four penal­ties in an agonising shoot-out which con­signed them to a fourth con­sec­u­tive sea­son in the Cham­pi­onship.

“I think the play-off de­feat hurt a lot of boys,” said Butcher. “When most of the boys like my­self came in dur­ing Jan­uary, we wanted to go up that sea­son.

“We ob­vi­ously knew it was go­ing to be tough to catch Ross County but we were still very con­fi­dent go­ing into the play-offs.

“So to lose the way we did on penal­ties against St Mir­ren kept a bit of hunger in our stom­achs for this sea­son.

“A lot of boys are still car­ry­ing that. We want to play in the Premier­ship next sea­son so know we have to get out of this league as quickly as pos­si­ble.

“It did hurt, to be hon­est, and we sat there in the dress­ing-room and agreed that we couldn’t be do­ing the same thing.”

United de­fender Butcher

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