The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
This was supposedly a summer's day, but the haar which enshrouded Tannadice made it more like November and the Tannadice floodlights were on from the start. Injuries once more upset team selection. Dave Narey and new signing Walter Rojas, both failed fitness tests on the morning of the match, so we made only one change to the starting eleven which defeated Falkirk in midweek — Alex Cleland coming in for Dave Narey. Aberdeen made the very early running and were obviously out to atone for Wednesday's shock home dismissal by Airdrie from the Skol Cup. However, before long we mounted a lengthy and sustained assault on the Aberdeen goal. In the 25th minute Hamish French ran on to Gary Bollan's pass after the youngster had won the ball in midfield, but Snelders got in the way to block Hamish's shot from the left hand side. Ten minutes later and Aberdeen's Dutch goalkeeper was in similar action as Hamish French again left Irvine in his wake. This time the ball rebounded back to Hamish French and Snelders must have been relieved to see Hamish's header drop over the bar. If Aberdeen could consider themselves fortunate to go in at the interval on level terms, they had strong grounds for feeling hard done to early in the second half. First Alan Main made a brilliant save low down to his left to keep out a Connor header. Gillhaus then blasted the ball against the bar before Alan Main acrobatically beat the rebound away for a corner. Even if we failed to dictate play as much in the second as we did in the first, Snelders was still called into serious action more often than Alan Main. He did well to tip over a hook shot from Mixu Paatelainen and also held a long range effort from John Clark. With eleven minutes remaining Jochen Muller replaced Andy McLaren, but neither side could summon the extra reserves to break the deadlock. Just before the end there was a further injury blow for us when Alex Cleland was carried off. So the Dons dropped their first League point of the new term and we prevented them chalking up a hat-trick of Tannadice successes.
On Tuesday evening we finished up narrow victors over Falkirk. I have no doubt that the media will have, in general, expressed the view that we were fortunate to progress into the quarter finals of the Skol Cup. But taking into consideration current state of availability of players here ourown expectations and those of the media are probably at different levels at the moment. I'll admit that we carried a bit of luck in beating Falkirk, but we were desperate to get through to help eradicate the disappointment of last Saturday's match at Easter Road where I felt we were unlucky not to collect a point. One thing I can't fault last Tuesday was the attitude of the players, but tactically, we are ridiculously naive in certain areas. I'll keep it as simple as I can by saying that every team likes to have a spare defender. However, when that man only defends it makes it impossible for others to operate properly. During the second half on Tuesday ,John Clark, who was our spare defender, singularly failed to get on the ball when we were in possession. Last Tuesday we had two eighteen year olds on from the start and a seventeen year old on the bench. No club in Scotland asks so much of its young players as we do at Tannadice and whilst Gary Bollans first half contribution was acceptable, he fell away in the second half. In Andy McLaren's case, he must do better and forthe moment, it might be better to continue using him as a substitute. From speaking to other managers after matches it is comforting to know that we are not the only club troubled by the general attitude shown by the modern day player. The only problem is I don't know what the solution is! When Aberdeen come to Tannadice, there is never a problem motivating the players. If further incentive were needed I only have to point out that Aberdeen was the only side to win both league games at Tannadice last season! There is no doubt we could be better prepared to face the current league leaders, but it is always a game we look forward to and this afternoon's clash comes as no exception. Finally, at the end of a week when we have finally got our plans for the new stand passed, I would like to take this opportunity of thanking our supporters on two counts. First for all your backing throughout what has been a troubled and difficult summer for the club. Secondly, I cannot extend enough thanks to the people who turned out in the city square last Monday in support of our application for planning permission to erect a new stand. In addition, I am grateful to those supporters who gave up their time to speak to their local council representative because they felt so strongly about the matter. Lastly, and certainly by no means least, my sincere thanks go to Ron McCabe and his deputation who spoke so favourable about the club and the projected new stand at Monday evening's planning meeting. All your assistance played a vital role in helping us take the first practical steps in the upgrading of Tannadice Park to meet U.E.F.A. and Government regulations.