The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
Whenever United and Celtic meet you can normally expect a rousing encounter and this latest one proved no exception. If Celtic could claim the better of the exchanges in the first half, then the second period undoubtedly belonged to the men in tangerine. However, we might well have gone ahead in that first half when Peter Hinds lofted a flick on from Kevin Gallacher over the bar. Celtic meanwhile were unlucky to see a Coyne header strike the wrong side of the post before they took the lead with a 'Augentahler' style goal. A free-kick was laid in to the path of Chris Morris whose crashing drive went searing into the top left hand corner of the net.Celtic's half-time lead wasn't to last long - 43 seconds to be precise. From the kick off we made progress down the right and a throw-in by Mixu Paatelainen caused total confusion in the Celtic defence. The ball was eventually laid back to Freddy van der Hoorn whose low drive from the edge of the box went through a ruck of players to beat Bonner. Now it was our turn to dominate and Peter Hinds shot straight at Bonner after substitute Hamish French had broken clear. As the tempo increased Derek Whyte, Paul Hegarty were both booked. With ten minutes left Celtic broke clear to score. Mike Galloway slung a diagonal ball upfield. Tommy Coyne beat Alex Cleland to the ball and knocked the ball into the far corner. A minute later Derek Whyte was ordered off after a professional foul on Kevin Gallacher and the drama took a further twist five minutes later. Substitute John Clark with virtually his first touch rose to head a Dave Bowman corner against the crossbar and Hamish French, our other substitute stooped to nod the ball over the line. The action was relentless to the end and there were further bookings for Paul McStay and Freddy Van Der Hoorn as both sides chased a winner. Yes, it was quite a game!
From time to time managers make some classic comments, but equally my good friends in the media, on occasions, really do take the biscuit as last week's match at Easter Road proved, Take Bob Cramsey on radio for example and his quote, "Already this early in the season Dundee United have left themselves far too much to do to win the Premier League". Would he have said the same about Rangers who stand on the same pointage as ourselves, all of two points behind the leaders. Then on television at night we had Archie McPherson expounding at length about a boob by Dave Narey, which led to Hibs first goal. If you asked anyone involved in football coaching or playing they would tell you that a goalkeeper must stay back if the defender is winning the ball. When the keeper advances as Billy Thomson did last Saturday it will always create a problem. Only if the defender is not going to get the ball first should the 'keeper come forward. Fortunately the players concerned know the answer to the problem. In a newspaper article there was also criticism of more changes in the side of which the selection of Jim Mclnally at left back and Freddy Van Der Hoorn in midfield were quoted. Yet if the reporter concerned had been at the previous match he would have seen both Jimmy and Freddy turn in outstanding performances in these roles. Being criticised for making chances is fair comment but what do you do when the side is losing — making no changes! Within our current playing staff we have at least four or five players, who to be fair, have not had much of a chance, but who, there again, are not good enough for Dundee United's first team. Therefore to allow players a bit more chance to establish themselves in the first team we must, if at all possible allow some to move on. The players in question would be good enough for a lot of other teams, but we have too many in the middle category and not enough playing to international class. Pruning the staff in certain areas would at least mean that one player would get more first team opportunity and prevent us having two unhappy players for one available position. Wednesday's result in Belfast was obviously very pleasing and at the end of the day the side can only gain confidence from that match and confidence is a department in which we have been struggling of late. Any win away from home in Europe is a tremendous result because there is no such thing as an easy tie in Europe these days. Hopefully we can now begin to improve our home record starting straight away with He visit of Celtic this afternoon.