The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
From the moment that it was known that we were to meet Aberdeen in the Cup, the general opinion was that it would take something special to separate the two members of the New Firm. The third attempt to settle the tie certainly produced a goal worthy of booking a quarter final place. Mixu Paatelainen's superb strike eight minutes from the end did the trick, but it is one of football's ironies that Aberdeen's performance deserved better. However, it is goals that count, and we could justifiably claim to have been the better side in the first two meetings. A bright opening brought an early pot-shot by Charlie Nicholas with skipper Maurice Malpas almost beheading a Dons defender with a blistering volley. The best chance of the first half fell to Paul Wright. The ball broke loose from a goalmouth scramble and Wright's follow-up shot went fractionally the wrong side of the post. A free-kick by Bobby Connor was turned round the post by Billy Thomson just before the interval. The second half started in Cup tie fashion with play swinging from end to end. The best of the chance of the match so far came in 66th minute when Paul Wright latched on to a Brian Irvine header, but his effort slid inches past the post as Billy Thomson came out quickly. Extra-time was again looming when the goal which finally decided the tie arrived. Only eight minutes were left when Joe McLeod forced Jim Bett to lose the ball. Billy McKinlay knocked the ball to Jim McInally, who found Mixu Paatelainen. The big Finn transferred the ball to his left foot and fired in a fierce shot which beat Snelders and went in via the inside of the post. There was no comeback this time and so we gained our first Cup win over the Dons at Tannadice and progressed to the quarter-final stages for the sixth consecutive season.