Peter Pawlett ‘devastated’ by Dundee United’s failure to secure promotion

Peter Pawlett was left “devastated” by Dundee United’s failure to reach the Ladbrokes Premiership but is looking for automatic promotion next season.

Following the 1-1 play-off final draw with St Mirren after extra-time in Paisley on Sunday, the 28-year-old was first up for the penalty shoot-out and had his effort saved by Saints keeper Vaclav Hladky.

Pavol Safranko, Osman Sow and Callum Booth also failed from the spot as the Buddies won 2-0 to secure their Premiership status and consign United to a fourth successive season in the Championship.

Former Aberdeen attacker Pawlett, who joined Robbie Neilson’s side in January from MK Dons, told ArabZone: “It is awful. It is the lowest point of my career, it is bitterly disappointing.

“Absolutely devastated. Apologies really. We will go again next season and hopefully we can get automatic promotion.

“We are more than confident in each other that we can go and do it next season.

“It is hard to look at the positives just now but everyone will get their rest in the summer, a good pre-season under our belts and hopefully we can hit the ground running and hopefully it will be our season next season.”

Both sides had fought out a goalless draw at Tannadice in the first leg on Thursday night to leave the tie in the balance.

United struck first through attacker Nicky Clark in the 23rd minute from the spot, before Saints forward Danny Mullen levelled with a well-taken volley three minutes later.

Saints substitute Duckens Nazon was given a straight red card by referee John Beaton after 114 minutes for his aerial challenge on United defender Mark Connolly before it went to the drama of the penalty shoot-out.

As disappointed as he was, United head coach Neilson also expressed optimism about next season.

He said: “The club has progressed massively in the last five or six months. We have new owners who are desperate for the club to do well and like ourselves are disappointed and will be for the next couple of weeks.

“But you can see from the feeling at the club and the city that the club has awoken again. It has been in a slumber for probably the last four or five years but it has started to turn.

“The turnaround has been massive. There is still that positivity here.

“We have to use it as fire in the belly for next season. We have to remain positive and make sure we start the season well.”