The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
Having experienced winter the week before when Dunfermline played at Tannadice, conditions resembled a summer's day when Hibs took to the field to try and breach our 100% home league record. The men from Easter Road have not fared well on Premier business at Tannadice but were buoyed by the inclusion new signing Murdo McLeod. Main was busier than his counterpart Andy Goram in the opening exchanges. In the early minutes Paddy Connolly had chances to put us ahead, in the 36th minute he shot narrowly over Bowman had dummied Hamish French's cross. A minute later Paddy shot past from the edge of the box. Right on the stroke of half-time Hamish French embarked on a magnificent solo run which saw him waltz past a handful of Hibs defenders, but his parting shot didn't quite match the run that took him into that position and the ball slipped past the far post. Hibs made a brighter start to the second half and Alan Main had to react quickly to block a shot from Paul Kane. However, the nearest thing to a goal came on the hour mark when our new Dutchman Gijs Steinmann struck the bar after a corner fell into his path. After a spell of Hibs dominance in which they failed to create any real chances, we stepped up our efforts to snatch a late winner with substitute Mixu Paatelainen figuring prominently. Goram was glad to see his first time shot on the turn go narrowly over and then the Hibs 'keeper held another snap-shot by the Finn. Our next move of the game saw Billy McKinlay sweep the ball out to Alex Cleland whose cross was directed just past the near post by Mixu Paatelainen. For all this a draw was looking inevitable and no one could have begrudged Hibs a share of the points. Then in the last minute fate intervened. Alan Main thumped a long ball upfield, it bounced into the box and under no pressure, Willie Miller diverted the ball over Andy Goram and into the back of the net for a bizarre own goal to enable us to maintain our two point lead at the top of the table.
I suspect that everyone who was here on Wednesday evening will be back this afternoon expecting more of the same. Hibs will obviously be doing all they can to prevent us doing just that, but our supporters can play ah important part in helping us to try and overcome Hibs, as they did on Wednesday against Dunfermline. Possession is an integral feature of our game and in patches we more than a little credit is due to the patience of the crowd. So long as the players receive encouragement to keep passing the ball around, we have a far better chance of winning. To illustrate what I mean, earlier this week I watched a video of the first half of the match with FH at Tannadice. During that it struck me how the supporters continued to encourage the players even through what was a 45 minute horror story. True, there was jeering at half-time, but you are entitled to express your opinion and we are, after all, after the same thing. However, during play it is essential that we receive your backing when we are struggling. Another factor in our performance on Wednesday was the size of the crowd. Tannadice generates a tremendous atmosphere with almost ten thousand spectators which again lifts the players. The reduced admission charges and the numbers who attended Wednesday's match also leads me to agree with those who think that our commodity is over-priced. I would always far rather have a crowd of 10,000 paying £2.50 each than half that number paying twice as much. Unfortunately to compete at the top these days we need the revenue generated by five figure crowds paying the full rate on a regular basis. In a playing sense we are heading in the right direction. We do, however still have a little bit to go, and if you can even improve upon the patience shown on the terracings, I think I can guarantee further improvement on the park. I must single out one player from Wednesday's match. Hamish French was outstanding and no player deserves success more than him. He is the type of player who is a manager's dream and I only hope that he'll now get a lengthy run without injury, which has hampered him so much in the past.