Dundee United manager Jack Ross described it as a “privilege” to be in the dugout for Thursday night’s win over AZ Alkmaar.
The Tayside club won 1-0 in front of a packed Tannadice in the first leg of their Europa Conference League qualifier.
It was their first win in Europe in over a decade and one of their finest results since their own halcyon days of the 1980s when they reached a UEFA Cup final and European Cup semi-final.
A second-half goal from Glenn Middleton was enough to secure victory over the Dutch side and the only downside of an electric night for United fans would be that they aren’t heading to the Netherlands with an even bigger lead to protect such was their performance on the night.
It was Ross’s first home game in charge since taking the reins in the summer and he was bowled over by the atmosphere as fans savoured what will go down as a famous result in the club’s modern history.
He said: “It was a privilege to lead the club on a night like tonight from minute one because of the atmosphere inside the stadium and it was a privilege to lead a team that produced that type of performance.
“It doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme in terms of progressing to the next round, but there will be generations of Dundee United supporters who have not had a night like that, enjoying beating a top European team at Tannadice. It was a really enjoyable night, one the players should be proud of.
“We were outstanding and we showed a lot of quality. It was just an all-round good night and the atmosphere was unbelievable.
“I have been involved in big games as a manager, but that was incredible.”
Ross admits his team still have plenty work to do to get through to the play-off round, but he is intent on savouring the first-leg victory.
“We are under no illusions about the challenge, but we wanted to give ourselves a platform to go through,” he said.
“I also think about the players having the chance to put themselves into the European history of this club.
“There is a long way to go, but it’s been a while since we have beaten a top European club like that.
“Sometimes we don’t pause enough to enjoy things, but I will pause and so should the players.”
Goal hero Middleton only signed for United last Friday from Rangers after spending recent seasons on loan at Hibernian and St Johnstone, and Ross is hopeful the 22-year-old’s stunning start to his Tannadice career is a sign of things to come.
“Glenn has the ability to produce moments like that and it was a great goal,” he said.
“At this point in his career, he needs a home and I encourage players in his position to be expressive.
“I’m so pleased he’s got his career here off to a start like that as it helps in so many ways.”
Dundee United host Livingston in the Premiership on Saturday before travelling to the Netherlands in the hope of extending their European journey.
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