The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
After a busy schedule over the past month, the rearranged fixture against Rangers finally went under way at Tannadice, after the original match had been postponed an hour before kick-off due to heavy rain back in September. Manager Jim McLean stuck with the same starting eleven for the third game in a row, for what was billed as a rehearsal for the League Cup final in two weeks time.United looked the more confident side in the opening minutes and twice Rangers' teenage full-back Kenny Black gave away free-kicks, the first of which Peter McCloy pawed away anxiously. Black was eventually cautioned just eight minutes in after pulling Ralph Milne's shirt. Rangers then had a chance in the 16th minute, when a free-kick came back off Hamish McAlpine before striking Richard Gough and came back to the grateful keeper. Billy Kirkwood and Jim Bett where then booked a minute apart after fouls on each other as the game began to heat up. United broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute, when Gough's long cross from the right was met by Paul Sturrock, and his header span off Colin Jackson and into the net.The match increased even more in pace and commitment after the interval, and in the 60th minute United had a genuine penalty shout when Black pulled down Milne in the box, but the referee waved away the appeals. Moments later Bobby Russell saw a 30 yard drive crack off the cross bar, and then in the 65th minute United grabbed a second goal. Dave Narey broke up a Rangers attack and sent the ball through for Eamonn Bannon, who sprinted past Tom Forsyth, checked inside and calmly chipped the ball over McCloy. Two minutes later, Black was again in trouble after scything down Milne in the centre circle, leaving the referee no choice but to produce the red card. The hard fought match culminated in a penalty to United with seven minutes to go, when McCloy brought down Kirkwood, however the Rangers keeper saved Bannon's spot-kick. The victory lifted United above Rangers to 4th place in the Premier Division.
Isn't it amazing how the likes and dislikes of players can affect the overall display of a side such as our own. For it was pointed out to me (although it had taken my notice before) by several members of our side which beat Morton last Saturday, the effect you, the fans, have on their showing in a game. To be frank, because of past acts of stupidity and violence minority groups of our fans, the local police now insist that the crowd is segregated for most of the games at Tannadice. And as the players point out, there is now very little atmosphere at most games at the bottom end of the ground. Not so at the other end where we feel certain that it was not just a case of coincidence that last Saturday's three goals were scored. I just dream of the days when Tannadice houses regular games when the entire terracing provides the atmosphere the players relish. Mind you, we here at the Club are all very excited at the increase in regular support given the side. After just a couple of seasons here at Tannadice in the job I remember the then Aberdeen manager Eddie Turnbull telling me "just wait, just wait", when I was bemoaning the fact we were playing to a hardcore support of just 2000-odds. Well that number has advanced through the years to 3000-odds and 4000-odds, and I now honestly feel that we are hearing the 5000 regular fans at home games, not forgetting our ever-growing away support. Tonight's visit of Rangers is one occasion when there should be no lack of atmosphere and a night when I hope we can furnish ourselves with a psychological advantage to take into the League Cup final.