The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
After Saturday's goalless draw, United went out and virtually booked a semi-final passage within twenty minutes by which time Airdrie were chasing a two goal deficit. There were two enforced changes in United's line up from the Broomfield tie. David Hannah came in for Dave Narey and Christian Dailly was the replacement for the suspended Craig Brewster. But the man who was to unlock the Airdrie defence was substitute Andy McLaren who hadn't even played in the first team this year! He came on for the unfortunate Jerren Nixon who suffered damage to his knee ligaments after a tackle by Caesar as early as the eighth minute. He'd only been on the park for six minutes when Gordan Petric blasted in a shot which cannoned off Sandison and Andy McLaren reacted quickly to nip the ball away from Hay and ram a shot low into Martin's right hand corner from 16 yards. It was the first goal Airdrie had conceded in 475 minutes, but only five minutes were to elapse before they lost another one! Again Andy McLaren was involved. Caesar and Hay went up together for a long punt down field by Guide van de Kamp and the ball came off the back of Hay's head and landed at the feet of Andy McLaren who quickly switched into the path of Billy McKinlay and he swept in a shot to which Martin got a feint touch, but the ball entered the net via the underside of the bar. Airdrie's only real chance of the first half didn't arrive until injury time when Iain Ferguson with a free header directed the ball past the post. Alex MacDonald threw on both substitutes as play got under way in the second period, United continued to dominate for long spells. There were just twenty minutes left when Guido Van de Kamp was really tested for the one and only occasion, Iain Ferguson played the ball in from the left and Smith met at the far post, but United's Dutch keeper spread himself to prevent Airdrie pulling a goal back. Seven minutes later Martin clawed away a fierce Billy McKinlay effort, but by now the tie was a lost cause for the visitors as United ran comfortable and thoroughly deserved winners.
Airdrie stand between us and a place in the semi-final and though they held us to a draw last Saturday, I was reasonably happy with the way in which we performed at Broomfield. True, we made a slightly nervous start, but I thought we looked very solid at the back and never really looked like losing a goal. Apart from the opening 20 minutes or so, Airdrie didn't pose us too many problems and the spirit within the side these days is really great. We showed tremendous determination with no one individual wanting to let a colleague down. Maurice Malpas and Jim Mclnally certainly led by example and were excellent at the back while Jerren Nixon was outstanding up front. I was also pleased to see Alex Cleland back at his best. The one criticism I could level was that we didn't post enough threat in the first half even though we were facing a stiff wind. However, we showed some good positive signs in the second half. In fact, it is probably fair to say that we enjoyed our best spell after the unfortunate sending off of Craig Brewster which is when the spirit within the side shone through. But as the players will readily testify, the fantastic support we had at Broomfield has been a tremendous boost to them at potentially hazardous trips to the likes of Motherwell and Airdrie. I feel that the growing numbers indicates that you appreciate what we are trying to achieve here and in the first instance, I hope that we can reward you by reaching the semi-final stage of the Scottish Cup. I can assure you the lads are really looking Forward to tonight's match and are very determined to get to the semi-finals. Together with that and a repeat of your fantastic support, I am confident that we can achieve that aim by overcoming Airdrie this evening.