Dundee Utd 4 - 1 Airdrieonians

League - Premier Division
Wednesday, April 29th, 1981, 7:30 PM at Tannadice Park
Attendance: 3,133
Referee: J Timmons (Kilwinning)
Mascot: Craig Smith
Dundee Utd  Airdrieonians

Goalscorers
Eamonn Bannon (24)
Ralph Milne (49)
Billy Kirkwood (65)
Billy Kirkwood (82)
Sandy Clark (21)

Team Managers
Jim McLean
Bobby Watson

Starting Eleven
Hamish McAlpine
Iain Phillip
John Holt
Derek Stark
Frank Kopel
Dave Narey
Eamonn Bannon
Ralph Milne
Billy Kirkwood
Davie Dodds
Paul Sturrock
Alan Davidson
Harry Cairney
Jim Rodger
George Anderson
Jim March
Pat McCluskey
John Flood
Sandy Clark
Norrie Anderson
Brian McKeown
Albert Burnett

Substitutes
Richard Gough
Willie Pettigrew
Tommy Walker
Willie McGuire

Substitutions
Richard Gough for Iain Phillip
None.

Bookings
None. None.

Red Cards
None. None.
Appearances & Goals To Date
Hamish McAlpine (GK) 464 apps3 goals
Iain Phillip 95 apps1 goal
John Holt 142 apps11 goals
Derek Stark 117 apps3 goals
Frank Kopel 387 apps13 goals
Dave Narey 335 apps22 goals
Eamonn Bannon 83 apps16 goals
Ralph Milne 50 apps13 goals
Billy Kirkwood 167 apps40 goals
Davie Dodds 115 apps42 goals
Paul Sturrock 273 apps78 goals
Richard Gough (sub) 3 apps -

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Ralph Milne (19 years 356 days)
Oldest Player:Hamish McAlpine (33 years 107 days)
Average Player Age:25 years 71 days
Domestic Players:11 (100.00 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Richard Gough (19 years 29 days)
Oldest Player:Hamish McAlpine (33 years 107 days)
Average Player Age:24 years 332 days
Domestic Players:13 (100.00 % of matchday squad)

First Team Debuts

Milestones
Ralph Milne played his 50th major competitive game for the Club.

Since reaching the Scottish Cup Final with their victory over Celtic at Hampden in the Semi-Final, United had went three matches without a win. Dave Narey, who had missed the last two games through injury, was back in the starting line-up, with skipper Paul Hegarty missing out after struggling since being injured in that semi-final tie. Also in were Iain Phillip, Frank Kopel and Davie Dodds, replacing Derek Murray, Willie Pettigrew and Graeme Payne.

After young keeper Alan Davidson kept out the eager United attack in the opening minutes, Airdrie grabbed a shock lead in the 21st minute. A burst through the middle by Sandy Clark caught the home defence square and he scored from a tight angle. United equalised four minutes later, when a brilliant three man move on the right ended with Eamonn Bannon nodding home Ralph Milne's cross.

Four minutes after the interval United surged ahead with another header, this time from Ralph Milne. There was no stopping United after that and Billy Kirkwood made it 3-1 in the 65th minute. With eight minutes to go Billy Kirkwood scored again, this time with a shot from 25 yards that deflected into the net.

The win meant that United remained in touch with Rangers and St Mirren in the push to finish in 3rd place, with a point separating the three teams going into the final match of the League campaign.

Tonight brings with it our penultimate Premier League outing of the term, our game here against Partick Thistle on Saturday wrapping up the league season. But this evening it is the turn of Bobby Watson's Airdrie to travel to Tayside for a fixture which has in the past proved productive in a goals sense. However, it was m our defensive department that most of my delight was centred after last weekend's stalemate against Aberdeen here. And of course the main targets for high praise were youngsters Derek Murray and Richard Gough whose contributions exceeded all my hopes.

Mind you, the successes of the pair simply added to my disappointment of the season as a whole, a term in which once again too few opportunities arose in which to blood our young talent at first team level. Therefore, the time is fast approaching when serious thinking has to be done concerning first team openings for the younger talent. To be honest we have too many experienced players in our Top Team squad, some of whom have scorned their opportunities of regular first team places. Undoubtedly, these players could and would do jobs for other club’s but for the obvious current difficulties in finding buyers at our asking prices. Tonight we ought to be back to something resembling full strength when I look to the side to provide a morale-boosting win for that big cup occasion in ten days time.

Pld W D L F A +/- Pts
1. Celtic 35 26 4 5 83 34 49 56
2. Aberdeen 35 19 11 5 61 24 37 49
3. Rangers 35 15 12 8 56 32 24 42
4. St Mirren 35 17 8 10 53 46 7 42
5. UNITED 35 16 9 10 63 40 23 41
6. Partick Thistle 35 10 10 15 30 45 -15 30
7. Morton 35 10 8 17 34 55 -21 28
8. Airdrie 35 9 9 17 33 53 -20 27
9. Hearts 35 6 6 23 27 67 -40 18
10. Kilmarnock 35 4 9 22 21 65 -44 17
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