The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
Snow swirled around Tannadice as the match got underwvay and there were shades of deja vu when Stuart Gordon, who was in the Hamilton Accies side which eliminated us from the Skol Cup earlier in the season, put the Doonhammers ahead after only 105 seconds. Alan Main miscued a clearance for a corner and Robertson's corner was headed in by Gordon to give them a shock early lead. Queens shuffled back in defence and held us at bay for most of the first half. On three occasions in almost as many minutes we threatened to equalise. Allan Preston curled a free-kick just past. Paddy Connolly then saw his effort cleared off the line by Stuart Gordon of all people a couple of minutes later. Then Darren Jackson's header was well saved by Davidson. With the snow now lying referee Hope asked for a replacement ball and three minutes from the interval it brought us a welcome change of fortune. Miodrag Krivokapic made a surging run from the back before sending over a cross which Paddy Connolly rose to head past Davidson. The Queen of the South 'keeper was to prove a real thorn in our flesh in the second half and went on to win the sponsor's Man of the Match Award. The 'keeper brilliantly tipped over a header by Mixu Paatelainen early in the second half. We increasingly pressurised the visitor's defence, but almost fell behind again when Alan Main dashed from goal to block a shot by Johnstone who had broken clear. Almost immediately we made Queens pay for that missed opportunity. Davidson made a fine stop from Mixu Paatelainen, but was eventually beaten shortly afterwards when Darren Jackson knocked down a Ray McKinnon free-kick and Mixu Paatelainen crashed the ball home from close-in. Davidson made fine saves from Mixu Paatelainen, a McKinnon shot on the turn and, Preston and Connolly as we endeavoured to stretch our lead. We held on comfortably enough in the final ten minutes, but although it was not as convincing a result as we would have hoped for, we did get the all-important result on a difficult surface.
With our league position being what it is, the Scottish Cup assumes even greater importance than normal for us this season. We may have drawn Second Division opposition, but it is vital that we do not underestimate Queen of the South. They will undoubtedly come with the intention of frustrating us and trying to hit us on the break. I will therefore be looking for the side toexercise the same patience as they did last week against St. Mirren, Our supporters can also play a big part by not getting frustrated, because it can so easily unsettle the team in these circumstances, especially with so many young players in the ranks, and that was a pleasing aspect of last weeks match with St. Mirren. Mind you, I am still looking for a dramatic improvement in performance, because we will undoubtedly need that if we are to do exceptionally well in the Cup. It is around this time of year that suspensions start to bite and as with injuries all season, it is vital we steer clear of both. Really our most urgent need of improvement is in the form of the strikers who really must do far better in their scoring returns. In my article last week I singled out Alan Main and Allan Preston for praise. Following last week's match with St. Mirren Alan Main and Raymond McKinnon did well, but Allan Preston, Paddy Connolly and John O'Neil failed to play to their potential. In Allan Preston's case, he was up against Wishart and Martin, both of who are very good players and they didn't make it easy for him. In addition Allan was tired as he had been over-trained during the week prior to the match. Paddy Connolly and John O'Neit must, however, both improve their sharpness. Only if they work on all aspects of the game will their natural ability and talent allow them to become stars in the future. I don't mean to harp on at them but it is all part of the learning process at this very vital stage of their development. It is nice to be able to welcome Queen of the South back to Tannadice after a twelve year absence. I recall playing one of my first ever senior trials for the Palmerston side, but I wouldn't like to divulge just how many years ago that was, but Don Emery my opponent that day was at the veteran stage and I was a mere teenager!