Scottish Premiership play-offs: five memorable encounters

From remarkable comebacks, to calamitous errors, and agonising penalty shoot-outs, the Scottish Premiership play-offs are rarely short of drama.

Sunday would have been the second leg of this season's final so, to mark the occasion, BBC Scotland has looked back at five of the most memorable relegation/promotion contests.


1995-96 - Dundee United win 3-2 on aggregate after extra time

The play-offs may have not ended in Dundee United's favour in 2019, when they contrived to miss four penalties in a shoot-out defeat against St Mirren, but they certainly benefitted from them in 1996.

In just the second year of the format, United became the first second-tier side to be promoted when they defeated Partick Thistle over two legs after the Firhill club finished ninth in the top flight.

A crowd of over 10,000 watched Christian Dailly score a late leveller for United in the first leg at Firhill to cancel out Andy Lyons' first half free-kick.

And the first division side trailed again in the second game, this time Brian Welsh thumping in a stoppage-time header to cancel out Ian Cameron's opener before Owen Coyle netted the decisive goal with five minutes of extra-time remaining.


2013-14 - Tie finishes 2-2 on aggregate, Hamilton win 4-3 on penalties

The 2013-14 campaign ended 17 seasons without play-offs in Scotland and what drama it delivered.

After a poor start to the Premiership season, Hibs replaced Pat Fenlon with Terry Butcher in November, but the Easter Road side slid into 11th place - one spot above city rivals Hearts - and needed to overcome Hamilton Academical to stay up.

Any fears looked to have been quelled after Jason Cummings' brace gave Hibs a 2-0 lead to take back to Easter Road but Jason Scotland's first-half effort and an injury-time equaliser from Tony Andreu drew Alex Neill's men level.

Neither side could score in extra time and Accies goalkeeper Kevin Cuthbert was the hero in the shoot-out, saving from Kevin Thomson and Cummings to bring Hibs' 15-year stay in the Premiership to an end.


2014-15 - Motherwell win 6-1 on aggregate

After back-to-back promotions, Rangers were favourites to earn a third consecutive title in the Championship. However, a campaign plagued with inconsistency meant they would finish third, 24 points behind champions Hearts.

After overcoming Queen of the South and Hibernian in the play-off quarters and semis, Rangers faced Motherwell in the final. The previous term's top-flight runners up started the campaign poorly, leading to the departure of manager Stuart McCall in favour of Ian Baraclough.

By May, McCall was in charge of Rangers. However, in front of a raucous crowd at Ibrox, the first leg of his reunion went badly wrong, with first-half goals by Lee Erwin and Stephen McManus, followed by Lionel Ainsworth's third. Darren McGregor's late header did, at least, offer a little hope for the Fir Park return.

However, after seven minutes of the second half in Lanarkshire, Motherwell were out of sight when Cammy Bell made a mess of dealing with Marvin Johnson's deflected long-range effort, stumbling backwards and punching the ball into his own net.

Further goals from Ainsworth and John Sutton sealed a 6-1 aggregate victory and Motherwell's Premiership status before a post-match brawl earned both Rangers' Bilel Moshni and Motherwell's Fraser Kerr red cards.


2015-16 - Kilmarnock win 4-1 on aggregate

With Kilmarnock's 23-year top-flight status under threat, Lee Clark was brought in to replace Gary Locke at the turn of the year and guided the Ayrshire club to an 11th-place finish.

That meant a play-off with Championship runners-up Falkirk, who had dispatched Hibs 5-4 on aggregate in the semi-final with a stoppage-time Bob McHugh strike. And Peter Houston's side struck late again in the first leg of this tie, Will Vaulks scoring in the 91st minute after Kilmarnock spurned a host of chances.

However, goals from Greg Kiltie and Miles Addison wiped out Falkirk's lead after just eight minutes at Rugby Park before Kiltie's second and a fourth from Kris Boyd completed the rout for Clark's men.


2017-18 - Livingston win 3-1 on aggregate

If there is one club the play-offs have not been kind to, it is Partick Thistle.

After finishing 11th in the Premiership, they faced Championship runners-up Livingston, who had only been promoted from League One the previous season and accounted for Dundee United in the semi-final.

As they have done so often in recent years, Livingston made their home advantage count in the first leg, taking a 2-1 lead to Firhill after goals from Keaghan Jacobs and Scott Pittman cancelled out Kris Doolan's opener.

After a cagey first half, David Hopkin's side struck the crucial blow just a minute after the break through Jacobs, meaning Partick's five-year stay in the top-flight was over.

Two years on, Livingston are in the Premiership's top-six and Partick are preparing for life in League One.

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