The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
For the visit of St Johnstone to Tannadice on Boxing Day, Peter Houston stuck with the same side which had disappointingly lost 2-1 to Hearts at Tynecastle at the weekend.The game could not have started any better for United. In the first minute they won a free kick when Cregg fouled Russell on the right. Barry Douglas expertly picked out an unmarked Gavin Gunning who headed past a helpless Mannus in the Saints goal. With ten minutes on the clock Saints went close to levelling. Cregg won the ball at the edge of the United area and sent in a shot that was well saved by Cierzniak. A minute later an almost identical incident occurred when Cregg once again had a low shot saved by the United keeper. Shortly after United should have doubled their lead. Davidson fouled Russell on the left and another Douglas free kick picked out Gunning but this time the big defender failed to connect and the score remained at 1-0 to the hosts. A minute later Saints went close when Tade chested the ball into the path of Maclean who fired in a low shot that was brilliantly saved by Cierzniak. United’s Rudi Skacel then picked up the first booking of the afternoon for a late challenge on Cregg. Stuart Armstrong was next to go close when he capitalised on a slack pass from Craig. After a long run he smashed a 20 yard shot that Mannus managed to catch at the second time of asking. Shortly after Douglas was the second man to be booked when he was cautioned for a challenge on Pawlett. Midway through the half United’s keeper pulled off a stunning save to keep his side ahead. Scobbie crossed into the United box and from six yards Craig headed towards the United goal only to be undone by a point blank save from United’s Polish goalkeeper. Saints on loan forward Pawlett was then booked for a challenge on Rudi Skacel. With half an hour on the clock there was a loud appeal from the visiting support when Tade went down in the box however referee Calum Murray correctly waved play on. United then had another glorious chance to double their lead. Skacel burst into the penalty area and sent in a low shot that deflected past Mannus and with Gunning waiting at the back post the ball somehow went beyond the United man and went out for a corner. With time running out in the half McKay and MacLean combined for Saints but United’s Watson blocked MacLean’s shot and kept United’s narrow lead intact.United’s narrow lead was pegged back within a minute of the restart. Saints’ Pawlett broke down the right and cut into the United penalty area. His dangerous low cross found the feet of United’s Brian McLean and he was unfortunate to turn the ball into his own net. The visitors were looking very threatening and a minute later Pawlett set up Craig who saw his stinging shot saved by Cierzniak. Eight minutes into the half United tested the Saints defence. Watson found Skacel who in turn set up Russell and his shot was deflected over the crossbar by Fraser Wright. Watson then teed up Rankin and he sent in a long shot that just cleared the crossbar. Cregg was then cautioned for a rash challenge on United’s Rankin. United’s Keith Watson had picked up a knock and he limped off with 65 minutes on the clock to be replaced by Michael Gardyne. Two minutes later St Johnstone’s Scotland international Murray Davidson broke into the United box and lobbed the ball over the advancing Cierzniak who was grateful to see the ball just float past the right hand post. Shortly after Skacel had sent in a long shot that missed the target both he and Armstrong were replaced by Ritchie Ryan and Mark Millar. Millar almost made an immediate impact when he broke down the right and crossed into the area and Russell just failed to connect. With 15 minutes remaining Pawlett was replaced by Rowan Vine for the visitors. United then went close to retaking the lead when Douglas set up Russell who saw his shot blocked by McCracken. The resulting corner found the head of Gunning and his header was blocked on the line by Cregg. With both sides searching for a winner both Rankin and Millar tested the Saints goalkeeper Mannus but the Perth goalkeeper managed to keep the scores level. With only three minutes left Saints could have stolen the points. Tade sneaked in behind the United defence and latched on to a Davidson pass. With only the goalkeeper to beat he saw his low shot saved by the impressive Cierzniak and the score line remained level.