The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
The conditions for the return leg against Winterslag in Dundee couldn't have been more contrasting from the rain soaked, mud-churned ones in Belgium, where United had held out comfortably for a goalless draw. Iain Phillip returned to the starting eleven, and after just two first team appearances, 19 year-old Maurice Malpas was given his European debut as the sides kicked off on a frozen Tannadice Park.It was a slow start from United, taking eight minutes before they looked a serious threat. Paul Sturrock beat two men before hitting his shot over the bar. A Ralph Milne cross was then met by Paul Hegarty, who's header was held by de Bruyne. In the 17th minute, Malpas was close to scoring his first goal for the club, his first shot blocked and his follow up going narrowly past the post. The opening goal came after 24 minutes when a John Holt shot was blocked and Eamonn Bannon slammed in the rebound. Eight minutes later, Dave Narey advanced upfield to increase the lead, scoring with a header after his first shot spun up into the air after being blocked. His defensive team-mate Paul Hegarty made it three with a high floating header from a Paul Sturrock cross. Both sides made changes at the interval, with United bringing on Ian Gibson for Holt. United continued to create chances with Sturrock coming close and Bannon forcing the keeper into a brilliant save from a header. Four minutes into the half, Ralph Milne met a Davie Dodds cross to head a fierce fourth goal. With the tie now dead and buried, Ralph Milne scored his second with twenty minutes remaining, leaving the keeper helpless as he converted an Iain Phillip cross. United's 5-0 victory was an historic occasion, as it eased them into the quarter-finals of a European tournament for the first time since their first European match in 1966.
Another very warm welcome back to Tannadice for what we hope can be a repeat of one of the more memorable occasions here in European competition. Certainly the tie provides us with the ideal opportunity of at last breaking through in Europe, a level which I admit myself has often caught us out in the past. However this season has already provided us with some confidence with which to take into tonight's highly important tie. Naturally one hopes that we can regain the type of form which blitzed the Germans in the last round, although to be fair that level of performance is extremely difficult for the players to reach again. However it is going to take a display somewhere in that region to take us through to the last eight of the competition, against a side which will most assuredly not make things easy for us. To be perfectly blunt we might have been better prepared for the occasion in that things really haven't been clicking properly in recent outings. We have been managing to get in behind opposition defences as usual - but that final ball and finishing! In fact that's all we have worked on in our preparations for tonight, so glaringly obvious were these deficiencies against Hibs last weekend - and in Belgium last midweek. Mind you, it was hard to be overcritical in those conditions in Genk, although I would have been a lot happier going in tonight with at least one away goal to our credit. Tonight it is all going to be about patience once again. Most certainly going out to win the tie, but with a caution sufficient to ensure that we do not get caught on the break.