The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
With Maurice Malpas absent through injury, Jim McInally took over the captaincy whilst Alex Cleland occupied over the number three jersey, John 0'Neil came in on the right wing with Allan Preston filling the number ten shirt and Paddy Connolly moving to the substitute's bench. The early stages brought few incidents around either goal, although a hefty clearance by Alan Main produced an anxious moment in the Saints defence with Money punching clear from Darren Jackson. Our best move of the game so far came after half an hour when Allan Preston and Mixu Paatelainen combined down the left and Allan met Mixu's first time cross, but shot past the near post. There was an even better move eight minutes later. John O'Neil skipped past Black before sending over an early cross from which Ray McKinnon's diving header struck the face of the cross-bar. A minute later Freddy Van Der Hoorn scored from a free kick after Allan Preston had been brought down, but the kick had to be retaken. Saints had figured rarely as an attacking force in the first half and it was a similar situation after the break. Money was in action three minutes into the second half, turning a fierce drive from Jim McInally round the post for a corner. On the hour mark we had a penalty appeal turned down when Mixu Paatelainen appeared to be held. The breakthrough was only temporarily delayed, however. Ray McKinnon sent over a free-kick to the far post and Darren Jackson stole in at the far post to give Money no chance with his first time strike, For the first time in the match Saints were seen as an attacking force and they almost equalised when a Peter Weir free-kick was headed fractionally over by Martin. Three minutes later Lambert sent in a shot which Alan Main turned round the post as Saints pushed forward in search of an equaliser. However, they were made to pay for throwing men forward three minutes from the end. Darren Jackson led the ball through to Jim McInally and the United skipper pushed the ball wide as Money advanced and Paddy Connolly slotted the ball into the empty net for our second.
From our fast three outings we have taken four points out of a possible six. but I am sure that everyone who has witnessed our matches against Dundee. Dunfermline and Hibs would agree that we really should have secured maximum points. Whilst it has been pleasing that the defence has recorded shutouts in the last two matches, we must continue to look for a big improvement in the finishing. Against Dundee and Hibs we had so much of the play, it was very disappointing that we had to settle for two draws. Unfortunately it isn't just a case of promoting someone from the reserves, because they too have no proven goalscorer. Though the reserves have won recent games (2-1 v Queens Park; 2-1 v Dunfermline; 3-0 v Hearts). these were all ridiculous scorelines considering the number of chances created! I am beginning to think that finishing is becoming a dying art. Players like Jimmy Greaves and our own lan Mitchell worked on the premise that if you hit the target often enough, the goals would come. And they didn't always go for a spectacular finish which seems to be the order of today, often a touch of finesse would be even more effective. This afternoon we play host to Celtic and this is one game which everyone within the club looks forward to and is another very important fixture. Barring illness or injury, Paddy Connolly will be in the side and I'll be interested to see how he handles one of the biggest games of the season. My reason for anticipating this fixture so much is that it almost always provides an entertaining match and is usually decided by the good things in the game rather than the bad and I hope that this afternoon's match doesn't prove to be an exception.