The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
United were dealt a major blow for the hotly anticipated Scottish Cup Quarter Final tie against Dundee with Johnny Russell failing a late fitness test. The only change from the draw against Inverness was therefore Stuart Armstrong returning to the starting eleven in his place. This was the first Scottish Cup tie between the sides since 1991 when United defeat Dundee 3-1 at Tannadice at the 5th round stage. The Dens Park side had not won a Scottish Cup tie against United since 1956 – Peter Houston was looking to extend that record and progress to the semi-finals.The game started at a fast and furious pace, in a red hot atmosphere with the United end packed and with the usual sea of tangerine. There was an early scare for United when Gardyne went down with a head knock but thankfully he recovered and was able to continue. With seven minutes gone United won a corner which Flood swung in, the ball was cleared by the Dundee defence but Gardyne knocked the ball back in and Daly headed wide of target. Three minutes later United went ahead. Despite a loud appeal for a throw in for the visitors the referee allowed play to continue and Mackay-Steven was fouled resulting in a United free kick. Barry Douglas sent in a great cross and Brian McLean bulleted a header past the helpless Rab Douglas. Five minutes later Mackay-Steven went down in the penalty box but despite an appeal for a penalty the referee waved play on. With 20 minutes gone the home side were back on level terms. Baird broke down the right and squared the ball into the penalty box and Jim McAlister swept the ball past Cierzniak. Shortly after Riley was then cautioned for a blatant dive in the United box. Ten minutes from the break Dundee should have been ahead. Grassi lofted a free kick into the United box and the ball broke to Baird who saw his shot blocked by the feet of Cierzniak. United then went straight up the park and regained their lead. Armstrong collected the ball in the middle of the park and made a surging run. His inch perfect pass found the feet of Gary Mackay-Steven and he fired the ball low past Douglas. The United man was then booked by the referee for ‘gesturing’ towards the Dundee fans behind the goal during his celebration. Riley then tried his luck from 20 yards but Cierzniak tipped the ball round the post. With half time beckoning, Gardyne and Armstrong exchanged passes at the end of the Dundee box and the former Ross County man saw his shot deflect just wide of the target. On the stroke of half time another fine run from Armstrong ended in a fine saving tackle from Irvine in the Dundee penalty box.Shortly after the restart Riley had a chance but his first time shot went high over the crossbar. McLean and Cierzniak then had a breakdown of communication that saw the defender head past his goalkeeper but fortunately for United the ball went out for a corner kick. Seven minutes after the break United went close when after Mackay-Steven was fouled Flood lofted the ball into the Dundee box but Daly just failed to connect with a header and the ball was gathered by Douglas. Three minutes later United went even closer to extending their lead. Armstrong once again broke forward and this time he fed Mackay-Steven who in turn picked out Gardyne. The United man turned in the box and sent in a shot that Douglas turned round the post. Dundee then went close when a corner was knocked back to Davidson whose effort was cleared from the goal line by Barry Douglas. With 25 minutes left United were keen to now see the game out so Jackie McNamara brought on Ritchie Ryan in place of Gardyne. Five minutes later Dundee won a corner on the left. The ball was crossed into the United box and Grassi headed the ball down and Cierzniak did well to punch the ball clear. Shortly after Armstrong played a great ball along the Dundee six yard box but unfortunately Daly could not connect. Dundee then made their first change of the afternoon when Stewart replaced Riley. With just over ten minutes left Dundee had a chance to level. Easton sent over a cross that Baird laid into the path of McAlister but the Dundee forward shot well over. On the 84 minute mark United went very close to a third. Mackay-Steven was fouled mid-way in the Dundee half. Flood sent a ball into the Dundee box which hit the head of Grassi and Douglas made a great save to keep his team in the game. In the dying stages the game boiled over when Watson seemed to fairly challenge Grassi but they got involved in a tangle that also included Rab Douglas and in the end the United defender and Dundee’s Grassi were both cautioned. The final few minutes of the match saw United frustrate their hosts as they kept possession and saw out the match to advance to the semi final.