The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
Under the eye of Antwerp coach, Dimitri Davidovic, we turned on our best performance of the season with a commanding display against the other half of the "New Firm". As ever, neither side gave much away in the early stages and the closest either side went to scoring came after 35 minutes. A shot from Craig Robertson looked innocuous enough, but it took a deflection off Maurice Malpas and Billy Thomson had to scramble across his goal to push the ball round the post. Deadlock, so often the hallmark of these meetings, was broken immediately before half-time. Darren Jackson knocked the ball forward, Kevin Gallacher flicked the ball on and Jim McInally charged past Miller before crashing the ball past Snelders. Seven minutes into the second half we increased that lead with an unusual goal. Dave Bowman's free kick was cleared by the Dons defence, but only as far as Maurice Malpas. The United skipper blasted in a shot which rebounded off colleague Michael O'Neill up into the air and Maurice launched himself forward to direct a diving header past Snelders. Apart from a spell in the closing stages we remained on top, and although Brian lrvine hit the post with a header and there were a couple of near things around Billy Thomson, no one could dispute our right to pick up both points.
Saturday's goalless draw with St. Mirren was very disappointing, especially when you reflect on how much of the play we had and some of the chances we scorned, particularly in the first half. With the defence keeping a clean sheet for once this season, the blame for the loss of a point ties with the forwards, but overall this season we have scored as many goals as most sides, but conceded far too many. Presently I am finding it really very, very difficult to choose our best eleven. What is making team selection complicated is that some of the players, who are probably favourites with our supporters, are flattering to deceive. However, the attitude of the players is first class. Freddy Van Der Hoorn is an instance, his application is excellent, but his lack of pace in getting forward means he will have to get a lot sharper and fitter. Midfield and up front are the areas causing us most problems. Dave Bowman is doing well; Freddy Van Der Hoorn looks to be doing well; Jim Mclnally is certainly doing well and Miodrag Krivokapic is looking determined now that he realises midfield is where he must play. But in every single case this quartet are more defensive, rather than attacking players and therein lies one of our major problems. A lot of supporters didn't fully appreciate as to why Alex Cleland was left out of Saturday's team. It was definitely the right time to leave him out. He will not be 19 until December and doesn't have the strength or stamina to last the whole season. He has done exceptionally well for us but he must not be over played at this stage of his career. The injury to Allan Preston during the St. Mirren match was a real blow because we get far better balance with him operating as orthodox winger. The visit of Aberdeen this evening provides us with another test. They are exceptionally strong in midfield and that's an area which if you win in these matches, you usually win the game. Let us hope we do both this evening.