The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
If entertainment had registered low on the richter scale against Hearts, then this thrilling cup tie had enough drama and twists to keep even the most discerning fan happy. United got off to a dream start when John Clark whipped over a cross which went behind Parks and although he held on to it, he couldn't prevent the ball crossing the line with only three minutes on the clock. The First Division side weren't knocked out of their stride and held an advantage in terms of possession for the remainder of the first half, but without seriously troubling Alan Main. The second period opened with a flourish which set the tone for the rest of this pulsating game. Weir sent in a diving header, but directed it straight at Alan Main, whilst at the other end, Parks could only parry a rasping first time drive by Dave Bowman. United then fashioned a quite superb goal. Billy McKinlay was the architect when he released Andy McLaren in the inside left channel. The youngster outpaced Tommy McQueen before switching feet to slide a right foot shot under the diving Parks. This ought to have sealed our place in the semi-final, but the Bairns kept battling away and Richard Cadette converted an Ian McCall cross from the left to reduce the arrears. It was real end to end stuff now and twice Falkirk went close before Richard Cadette snatched an equaliser after escaping the clutches of the United defence to prod the ball past Alan Main. Eight minutes into extra-time the tie took another twist as Falkirk forged ahead for he first time. Again it was that man Richard Cadette, knocking in the rebound after Alan Main had beaten out McKenzie's deflected shot. Scott Crabbe came on in the final period of the match and it was his flick out to Christian Dailly which set up the equaliser and brought such relief to the Tannadice faithful. Christian Dailly went to the bye-line cut the ball back and John Clark in days reminiscent of his original role as a striker swept the ball past Parks. In the last few minutes, United looked the likelier side to prevent penalties ultimately deciding, but in the end a shoot-out was necessary to decide the winners.Billy McKinlay, Neil Oliver and Gary Bollan all converted before Greg Shaw pulled his kick wide of the target. Christian Dailly made it 3-1 in United's favour, but McQueen netted to make it 3-2 before John Clark saw his effort saved by Parks, but when Alan Main blocked Ian McCall's kick, it left Scott Crabbe with the chance to win the tie which he did and promptly threw his right boot into the crowd by way of celebration or was it relief!
Saturday's match with Hearts proved to be a typical encounter, hard and physical, but I was pleased with the way that our young lads matched their more robust opponents. Football at the top level is a combination of both skill and physique and I felt that we did very well especially in the second half. There is no doubt that had Dave Bowman's tremendous shot in the first half gone in the course of the game would have been different. Brian Welsh was also very unlucky with his diving header which bounced up and over the bar midway through the second half. In the end a draw it was probably a fair result in a game of few chances, but now all thoughts are concentrated on tonight's tie with Falkirk. The only time we will refer back to the match with Hearts is when we meet them again! Unfortunately, we had to take off Paddy Connolly because he has been suffering from blisters on his feet for some time and he will probably need to be given a rest so that the problem clears up. However, on the bnghter side Billy McKinlay and Dave Narey should both be available to play this evening. The League Cup has already pitched against two teams from the First Division and our experiences at Hamilton and St Mirren as well as Rangers result against Kilmarnock last Saturday demonstrates there are no foregone conclusions. Certainly, it is a pleasant change to be drawn at home this time and with the crowd behind as usual, I feel confident that we can progress. Our young side need that more than ever as Falkirk will come to Tannadice with nothing to lose. We have got to be positive to maintain our unbeaten record and if the lads give the effort which I ask of them I look forward to us reaching the semi-finals for the first time in a while.