The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
The clash with Partick Thistle wasn't expected to provide us with an easy passage and that was exactly how the match developed. Michael O'Neill, making his debut after his record signing from Newcastle United, was the first to threaten the Thistle goal with a first time effort from a Mixu Paatelainen corner, and we were very unlucky not to take the lead after 27 minutes when Jim McInally's header from a Jackson free-kick was blocked by the Jags' 'keeper with his face! Thistle's first threat on goal came on the half hour mark when their new signing from Airdrie, Callum Campbell, worked his way into a good scoring position, only for John Clark to intervene with a remarkable last ditch clearance. From the ensuing corner the United number five cleared a net-bound header off the line.We finally got our noses in front seven minutes into the second half. Jim Kerr lost out in a tackle to Kevin Gallacher and the loose ball was picked up by Michael O'Neill, who drifted past MacDonald before hitting a low shot into the far corner of the net. Ten minutes later we might have gone further ahead. Freddy Van Der Hoorn's free kick rebounded from the 'keeper but John Clark couldn't keep the ball down as he followed up. The game appeared to have been sewn up in the 79th minute when Darren Jackson scored from the edge of the box, but Michael O'Neill was adjudged to have been in an off-side position and the goal was disallowed.The game ended in a flurry of activity and controversy. Firstly, Scott Thomson, who had been virtually redundant in the second half, brilliantly turned a header from Wright away as Thistle chased an equaliser. At the other end Kevin Gallacher appeared to be tripped in the box, but no penalty was forthcoming and the incident ended with Kevin being booked, as was Jimmy McInally after a subsequent foul. However, we were safely through by then and the tie had proved just as difficult as had been anticipated.
Naturally I was disappointed with the way we started the season against Motherwell. Last Saturday Paddy Connolly proved exactly why he should play and why we can't afford to play him. For half-an hour he was outstanding, but for the remaining hour he was simply brushed aside. The game in Scotland, as I have said many times before, is far too physical. That hasn't been determined by any single team or player, it is just how the game has developed generally, and players will just have to adapt or, sadly, stay in the reserves. I am sure some of you will have wondered why Kevin Gallacher didn't play last weekend. On Saturday I considered that Mixu Paatelainen, Paddy Connolly and Alan Irvine as a winger were the first choices for the front positions. Kevin when asked has got to prove he is better than the men currently in possessions. In Saturday's match we tried to play five forwards. To get such tactics right, as with any system, you have to rely on individual performances being up to scratch, and on Saturday, unfortunately, that just didn't happen. Using five front players meant we lost a grip in midfield so we'll have to consider whether to continue with these tactics. Changes will be inevitable, how many are to be made is open to question as we seek to strike the right blend. In last Saturday's programme I tipped Motherwell as the most improved Premier side this season, now we face Partick who I reckon will be the First Division's most improved performers this term. The Jags will undoubtedly put us to the test particularly when it comes to exercising patience around goat. After Saturday's disappointment it is an obstacle we must simply overcome, but under John Lambie, I know that it will be no easy task.