The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
The syndrome of chopping and changing for whatever reasons continued yet again. In the wake of Saturday's disappointing display at Easter Road, manager Jim McLean made five changes in personnel from the starting eleven at Easter Road. The call for a more positive approach was answered as Hamish French brought out a save from Westwater in the very first minute. Generally, the opening exchanges were evenly contested with Westwater twice in action to deny Hamish French. At the other end Alan Main had to react quickly to tip over a dangerous Eddie May cross. As it turned out the re-instated United 'keeper was to be responsible for the opening, and ultimately, the winning goal after 36 minutes. Not that he was in any way to blame for the goal. Quite the opposite as he launched a long clearance down field. The ball bounced once and Hamish French headed the ball over the advancing Westwater. The goal was almost an exact replica of Darren Jackson's life-saving goal in the last minute of normal time in the Scottish Cup Final earlier this year. From then until half-time we controlled proceedings. In fact, Mixu shot just past within a minute of us taking the lead. Falkirk proved much more of a threat in the second half and twice former United midfielder, Eddie May, directed headers only inches wide. However, between those narrow escapes Westwater rescued Falkirk with saves from Hamish French and Andy McLaren. In the last quarter of an hour we had numerous opportunities to tie match up. but Westwater again made fine saves from Billy McKinlay and Hamish French in particular. However Falkirk fought to the end and former United defender. Neil Duffy who was drafted in as an auxillary striker had a couple of chances to take the tie into extra-time. The fact that it didn't, can be put down to a remarkable last minute goalline clearance. John Clark somehow managed to back-heel a dangerous cross over his own goal to ensure our qualification for the quarter finals.
I have no doubt that like me, all of you have found the first three Saturdays of the new term very depressing. On the opening day of the season against Celtic I felt that we deserved more; at McDiannid last week, it was a case of a point dropped after playing the entire second half against ten men and last Saturday at Easter Road, I have no doubt we deserved a share of the spoils. But, having said that our overall performance is been very disappointing. The reasons for that cannot be wholly attributable to the fact that we have had to do without so many players due to injury or a variety of other reasons. The main problem, I feel, is the lack of penetration within the club and it is a cause of major concern to me. One could argue that Andy McLaren should have started last Saturday's game against Hibs, but I opted for the experience of Darren Jackson and Michael O'Neill because of the goals they have scored so far this season. Frankly, our form has been erratic this term. We are the third top goalscorers, but also have the third worst defensive record. Yet, Hibs rarely looked like scoring and it was a bad mistake by Guido Van De Kamp which cost us a goal and the loss of both points. At the other end the quality of our crossing was extremely poor and the only real goal attempts came from Barren Jackson, Billy McKinlay and Freddy Van Der Hoom's last minute shot. At this level you cannot afford to give goals away and so we must concentrate on improving all aspects of our game. At the time of writing, I am waiting on clearance to sign someone who I think will help us turn the corner and by the time you read this, I hope all will be revealed. Tonight's opponents, Falkirk, will be difficult ones. After some excellent performances last season, they are still finding their feet in the Premier Division, but will have four former United players in Neil Duffy, Alex Taylor, Eddie May and Paul Smith doing their level best to put one over on their old club, So it is up to us to put our disappointing form behind us and ensure that we make it into the quarter finals of the Skol Cup next week.