The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
The lcelandic side came to Tannadice trailling by two goals and written off by almost everyone. By half-time they had wiped out the deficit and could easily have taken the lead after a first half which from a United viewpoint was best forgotten. Whilst we charged forward trying to score the goal that would kill the game, we left space at the back which combined with FH's shoot-onsight policy saw them bounce back into the game. Both Gislason and Marteinsson had sent in powerful shots which went wide of the target before Hordcur Magnusson their top scorer, was more successful. He sent in a raging shot from the edge of the box which Billy Thomson parried. However, the ball rose high into the air and came down to bounce into the back of the net. There was an even bigger shock for us nine minutes later. Kristján Gislason collected the ball on the edge of the box before hammering in a fierce angular drive into the top left hand corner of the far post. Even greater disaster may have befallen us had it not been for Marteinsson's poor finish in front of goal after Magnusson had played the ball into his path. Our best effort of that opening half came in the 34th minute when a Billy McKinlay corner fell to Michael O'Neill, but his shot was cleared off the line. Before half-time FH's policy of long range shooting saw Billy Thomson saving from Magnusson and a fiercely dipping shot from Vikingsson raging inches over the bar. As you'd expect our second half performance showed a great improvement. Less than twenty minutes into the second half, we pulled one back to everyone's great relief. Michael O'Neill and Billy McKinlay created the chance which allowed Paddy Connolly to turn quickly and steer a shot into the far corner. Only minutes later there was a heart stopping moment when Magnusson sent in a first time shot, but Billy Thomson saved well at full stretch. From then on the tie was safe and we got back on level terms on the night when Guđmundur Hilmarsson headed a cross well out of his keeper's reach high into the far corner.
Everyone within the club and I am sure all of you reading this will be as equally disappointed with the results and performances in last week's Skol Cup Semi-Final at Hampden and the league match at Tynecastle on Saturday. All I can say is that the punishing two games a week schedule has begun to take its toll on some players. Not that I am complaining about playing two games a week because that means we have met with some success and it is important for the club to reach semi-finals and finals as well as making progress in Europe. Having said that, I have to qualify my remarks about the intensive schedule catching up on the players because of the modern day attitude of younger players. Freddy Van Der Hoorn for example went into Saturday's match against Hearts only 50% fit because of a viral complaint. He was physically sick at half-time yet, despite having every reason to look jaded, Freddy was our best performer on the day. I am afraid that too many of the players in the side on Tuesday and Saturday just weren't prepared to push themselves beyond that pain barrier even although two games a week is well within their capabilities. On the day I felt we were unfortunate to lose to Hearts, but over the ninety minutes we didn't even deserve a draw against Celtic at Hampden. The side have certainly come a long way this season, but there is still room for improvement. Tonight's team selection will reflect those players whom I believe are the strongest eleven for this game with the lcelanders. Those players omitted can class themselves as rested or dropped, but these terms are meaningless because what it in fact means, is that they are not the best available to win this evening's match in view of their performances recently.