The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
Defeat snatched from the jaws of victory is really the only way to describe United's exit from the competition. After surviving all Celtic's early pressure during which Man-of-the-Match Ally Maxwell was the Tannadice hero, United took the lead and thereafter controlled proceedings to the extent that Celtic hardly conjured up a chance of note in the second half - until the last 90 seconds. United went into their first visit to the revamped Parkhead Stadium boosted by the return of Dave Bowman from injury. Brian Welsh was also back after breaking his nose against St Johnstone a month ago. United made the early running and Owen Coyle headed past when given a free header following a corner. Celtic soon made tracks towards Ally Maxwell who in turn pulled off excellent saves, foiling Andreas Thom and then Pierre van Hooijdonk. United responded with a Grant Johnson effort which went wide of the target. More heroics from Ally Maxwell saw him first deny Jackie McNamara at the near post and seconds later McLaughlin at the far post. Despite Celtic's pressure, the first goal of the game came at the other end. Gary McSwegan and Craig Brewster carved open the home defence and Craig Brewster was brought crashing to the ground after he pushed the bad past Marshall. Owen Coyle's spot-kick was beaten away by Marshall, but Gary McSwegan chested it down and Owen Coyle atoned for his miss by hooking the ball past Marshall as it dropped. Five minutes later Ally Maxwell was once more in action going full stretch to hold a 30 yarder from Peter Grant. But that was really the last time that the United keeper was asked to make a telling save. At the other end an unchallenged Gary McSwegan headed a Craig Brewster comer over and the United centre might have profited more had he shot rather than elected to pass when he received a pass from Maurice Malpas. The minutes ticked away and United appeared to be heading to a deserved victory when they were struck by not one, but two bolts from the blue! With just 90 seconds left, Jackie McNamara sent over a free-kick from the right which Pierre van Hooijdonk powerfully directed a header past Ally Maxwell. United barely had the prospect of a replay to be contemplated when Owen Coyle's pass was fortuitously deflected to the feet of Andreas Thom who bolted upfield and crashed home an outrageous winner. It was like revisiting Celtic's Cup Final triumphs over United in 1985 and 1988, only worse!"It should have been us, not Celtic, the semi-finals." - Billy Kirkwood