The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
United welcomed newly promoted Dundee to Tannadice for the first derby of the season and their first meeting since United’s 1980 League Cup Final triumph. Jim McLean made two changes to the side which had started at Cappielow the previous week with Ralph Milne and Billy Kirkwood coming into the side in the place of Willie Pettigrew – who dropped to the bench – and Derek Stark and dropped out of the squad altogether. The opening goal of the game came on 21 minutes when Eamonn Bannon's cross hit Davie Dodds on the penalty spot and looped up into the air for Billy Kirkwood to strike a half volley past Bobby Geddes from the edge of the box to give United the lead. Dundee were dealt another blow five minutes before the interval: Ralph Milne floated a corner into the box, finding Hegarty whose knockdown found Paul Sturrock completely unmarked four yards out and the striker controlled and fired past Geddes to make it 2-0 United. However the Dees pulled one back before the end of the half, when Paul Hegarty was adjudged to have pushed Eric Sinclair inside the box and referee Eddie Pringle pointed to the spot. Up stepped Iain Ferguson to slam home the penalty and bring Dundee right back into the game on the stroke of half time.The away side levelled the match 12 minutes into the second half when Hamish McAlpine dropped a Ferguson cross allowing substitute Peter Mackie to smash the ball home despite the presence of a defender on the goal line. Dundee’s joy was short lived and they fell behind again only three minutes later. A long kick down the field from McAlpine was flicked on by the head of Dodds and the ball fell to Ralph Milne who cut inside before chipping Geddes from 22 yards. 10 minutes later United re-established a two goal lead. Eamonn Bannon controlled well before lifting the ball over Bobby Glennie in the box and firing home from a tight angle. Now in complete control of the match, United then added some gloss to the score-line on 73 minutes. Dodds knocked the ball down to Paul Sturrock, who ran clear from the half-way line to slot the ball past Geddes for an incredible 5-2 win.
Let's get one thing straight right away. Despite the improvements in the side in recent years — Dundee United have no divine right to win every game they contest! That appeared to be the thinking of some people after our encouraging start to the season, a start which as I mentioned to you before, was not entirely to my satisfaction results apart. No side in this top grade can afford to allow things to slip in just a matter of days, as occured even in the period between our tremendous win against Aberdeen and our League Cup success at Hamilton the following midweek. Then of course came that trip to Cappielow last Saturday when the attitude on the field was a complete contrast to seven days before. No, there is still no way that the players have convinced me that they are "winners" every time they go out, and a continuation of that inconsistency in attitude will win us nothing at all. The side has been getting into the bad habit of falling back into a negative shell at stages in games, with the midfleld division the main culprits. That simply has to stop. But while criticising and stating that honours will not come with the present inconsistency in performance, allow me to point out that the side is certainly good enough to add to our honours list.