The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
Our home League programme opened as disappointingly as it had ended last season as Motherwell fully earned the point which they took from this opening day fixture. Indeed this was the third consecutive 1-1 draw between Motherwell and ourselves at Tannadice. Yet we started well enough by taking the lead after only eight minutes. A piece of wizardry by Paddy Connolly left two visiting defenders in his wake and his cut-back from one byeline was turned home by Hamish French via the far post. By rights Motherwell should have equalised almost immediately. Gordon Mair raced clear and though Scott Thomson blocked his shot the ball bounced high in the air and fell to Steve Kirk, who somehow contrived to shoot over the bar with the goal at his mercy. A near let-off for Mothewell preceded their equaliser. Paddy Connolly sprinted wide left cut inside and shot, and the 'Well defence cleared the ball not only to safety, but to counter-attack. Bobby Russell swung over a cross from the right which Nick Cusack dived to head into the corner of the goal. Two minutes from half-time Freddy Van Der Hoorn hammered in a shot which Maxwell couldn't hold, but a Motherwell defender denied the incoming Mixu Paatelainen.Early stages of the second half produced little by way of goal-mouth incident at either end, but as the final quarter of an hour approached we produced a late flurry. The nearest we came to scoring was when Boyd sliced a clearance which McLean tipped over, whilst Kirk headed just over at the other end, so both sides had to settle for a point.
I would like to begin by welcoming everyone back for the start of a new season and trust that you all had a good break during this glorious summer. Like me, I hope you are now looking forward to the season ahead. Whilst I am disappointed that we haven't been able to add to our two close season signings, I do hope that Peter Hinds, Freddy Van Der Hoorn and Darren Jackson, who is effectively a new signing, can all make major contributions in the first team this season. Certainly we have a stiff start to the new season as we face Motherwell today and Partick Thistle on Wednesday, because our home record last season just wasn't good enough. We had a major problem in prising open well organised defences at Tannadice and it is vital that we overcome that failing in the months ahead. I am not complaining about these tactics because we are as good, if not better than most, when it comes to defending away from home, as our exceptionally good away record last season readily testifies. Whilst it is nice to achieve such good results in front of our greatly increased travelling support, it is high time that we began to satisfy our home support with much better results at Tannadice. That will certainly not be easy because Motherwell, this afternoon's visitors, are my tip for the most improved team in the Premier Division. They only lost five games after the turn of the year and suffered only one defeat in their last seven matches, which included the one-all draw here, when only a late headed goal by Paul Hegarty salvaged a point for us. It is, however, vitally important that we improve upon that today and get off to a winning start to the new season.