The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
This was our first victory in six games and it was as tight as the scoreline suggests. Dave Narey returned to the side after missing the Dundee match with flu and Paddy Connolly replaced Kevin Gallacher up front. We were well in command in the opening stages and almost went ahead after 15 minutes when Westwater did well to block a Paddy Connolly header after he made contact with John Clark's cross from the far right. The Pars best effort of the early part of the game came when Iron's sent in a header from an O'Boyle cross, but this was easily held by Alan Main. The visitors were desperately trying to break our stranglehold on proceedings, but we deservedly went ahead in 32 minutes. John Clark hoisted over a cross to the far post. Darren Jackson hit a powerful drive. The ball struck Westwater before rearing up and striking the underside of the bar. Darren fell to his knees as if praying to Mecca, but instead gratefully nodded the ball over the line as the ball came off the woodwork. About Alan Main's only serious activity of an opening half during which Dunfermline were under the collar, was to hold a long range drive from Tommy Wilson.We took up where we had left off on the resumption and Westwater had to save one-handed from a John Clark header, but Mixu Paatelainen couldn't capitalise as the ball ran loose. With rain falling heavily and the pitch becoming heavier and heavier, play became bogged down in midfield until the final quarter of an hour when the Pars staged a fighting finish to try and save a point. Paul Smith broke through, but shot high and wide and then saw his first time shot flash over the bar as did a Rougvie effort shortly before the end of the game, but overall we fully merited our first victory of a new decade.
Firstly, I'd like to take this opportunity of wishing everyone of you a very happy and prosperous New Year. and, as we enter a new decade I would like to thank all of you for your support during the eighties. I can only hope that the nineties will prove to be as productive as the last ten years, which have undoubtedly been the most successful era in the dubs history. It is worth noting that during that period, only Aberdeen, Celtic and Rangers have enjoyed greater success than ourselves, though I would concede that the decade has closed in somewhat disappointing style. There is no comparison between the size or the club now and ten years ago. The rapid growth has caused some headaches, but hopefully the close contact between the club and supporters will see even closer links forged in the future. Obviously the success of the club lies mainly with the players efforts on the field of play, no one should under-estimate the contribution made by our fans. In fact. whilst winning three trophies have brought me a great deal of pleasure, the scenes after the U.E.F.A. Cup final which earned the club the FIFA Fair Play Award will live with me as one of the highlights of the eighties. Looking forward, the future of the club in my opinion, is bright. The young players on our staff are as good, if not better, than at other clubs'. Unfortunately most are still in their teens and therefore we will have to wait a wee while before they reach their full potential. Yet when I signed players such as Dave Narey and Andy Gray at 15, they were making positive contributions at first team level by the time they were 17, but that was in the old style first division. Nowadays even although we are signing players at 13 on 'S' forms. we are having to wait twice as long for them to mature into first team regulars. The demands of the Premier League mean that it is very unusual for any youngster to be outstanding and established in any top ten side by his late teens. Consequently only a few teenagers can be drafted in at any one time. Recent disappointing performances may be hard for our supporters to live with, but I can assure you it is equally as difficult for the players and coaching staff to tolerate. Hopefully we can start putting some of those indifferent displays behind us by winning both points from Dunfermline whom we welcome tonight as our 'first foots'.