The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
Jackie McNamara chose the same starting 11 for the third match in a row, after they hit four goals in both of the last two games. United, were wearing their red and white cup strip.United knocked the ball about with confidence in the opening quarter of an hour and kept possession well, albeit without managing to get beyond the Killie rearguard to test Craig Samson. But Unitedís creative players were once again looking in the mood and the first notable effort came when Ryan Gauld sprinted confidently forward before unleashing a long-range drive which was deflected into Samsonís hands. Kilmarnock then started to edge themselves into the game and also looked like they wanted to knock the ball about. The first warning of their danger came from a fine cross from Jeroean Tesselaar from deep on the right, which flashed menacingly across Radoslaw Cierzniakís goal before being cleared to safety. It was Cierzniak who was to make the first real save of the game. After United had given the ball away in the middle of the park, Kris Boyd latched onto a through ball from Craig Slater before powering in a dangerous effort which the Pole parried behind for a corner. The Ayrshire side were starting to play the kind of football which belied their league position and won a free kick on the left when pacy winger Chris Johnston was pulled down after sprinting past Mark Wilson. The resultant free kick had to be nodded behind by John Souttar, following which United took a few attempts to properly clear the danger from a corner. United didnít take long to re-establish their superiority, however, and stormed into the lead after 26 minutes following some brilliant football. Nadir Ciftci broke through menacingly then set up Stuart Armstrong, who looked set to shoot but instead touched it aside to Andy Robertson, who took a touch then finished with all the style of a predatory striker to leave Samson with little chance. United finished the first half on the front foot, with Gary Mackay-Steven brilliantly beating his marker on the touchline before sprinting into the box then teeing up Armstrong, who slightly mis-hit his effort, which was then cleared. It had, though, been another 45 minutes of attractive football from United Ė although the Ayrshire side were still in the game and looking a threat when they managed to get the ball forward.Right at the start of the second half, Kilmarnock stunned the home side with two quick goals. First, Craig Slater lofted in a hopeful free kick which Cierzniak looked set to collect, only for him to drop right at the feet of Darren Barr, who bundled the ball home despite a despairing attempt to clear from Gavin Gunning. While there was quite a bit of fortune about Killieís equaliser, when they took the lead only three minutes later it was with a piece of genuine quality. Young winger Chris Johnston picked up the ball on the right then powered quickly past Wilson and fired in an unstoppable effort from the edge of the box which zipped into the top corner to leave Cierzniak helpless. The unexpected turn of events brought out a renewed sense of urgency from United and Rankinís shot-come-cross was left by everyone and had to be desperately parried away by Samson to Wilson, who set up Gauld only for the youngster to slide his effort wide. Killie dangerman Johnston was causing havoc every time he got the ball and when he bore down on goal he slid a ball across goal towards Rory McKenzie which Gunning blocked. United then got themselves level just after the hour mark with a fine strike Ė although there was a bit of controversy about it. Killieís Reuben was down injured on the halfway line but United played on, with Ciftci racing into the box then cutting back for Stuart Armstrong, who powered a confident finish beyond Samson from close range. Midway through the second half, United suffered a blow when Ciftci had to go off after appearing to pull his hamstring Ė with Brian Graham coming on in his place. United kept pressing and Armstrong had an effort deflected wide then Samson had to fist away a corner under pressure from Gunning. Another fine move from United nearly got them in front. Gauld slid in bravely to force the ball wide to Andrew Robertson, who swung in a wicked cross which Graham headed from 16 yards off the post. United werenít to be denied though, when Robertson scored again after powering into the box then battering in an effort which seemed to bounce just in front of Samson and ping over him and into the net. With only 10 minutes to go, United won a penalty when Gauld went down under a clumsy challenge from Reuben. Brian Graham stepped up with confidence and left the keeper with no chance with a powerful effort into the bottom left hand corner. United then hit a fifth goal for the first time this season when Gauld wouldnít give up on a lost cause but Samson just got the ball away, only for it to fall to Mackay-Steven who had it all to do and hammered the ball beyond Samson from distance.Match Photos courtesy of Riki Grauer - More photos available at:Dundee United Official Flickr Page
Like me, I am sure all our fans went home happy after last Saturday's win over Partick Thistle. The way we started the match was terrific and a great goal early on got our noses in front and we were pushing hard for a second. Then we had the wee incident concerning the net, when the defender got caught up in it after his goal-line clearance prevented GMS scoring again. That break in play seemed to let them regroup a bit, taking the sting out of the waves of attacks to which they had been subjected previously. Even then, we had further chances to score more goals, indeed probably enough to have put the game to bed before the break. I know from speaking to Archie (Alan Archibald) after the game. that he was happy to be only one goal down at the interval. And because they were still in the match, it gave them a lift. even although we had been so dominant Early in the second half, they had a spell when they passed the ball about well and art:hough we still worked and pressed to try and get it off them, they got back in the game, but only from a forturtous penalty. 'Soapy' didn't deliberately handle; the strike was so powerful there was Iittle he could do to stop it hitting his arm. But the ref deemed it a penalty from which they equalised. The good thing for me was that the lads didn't let it affect them and knuckled down to get their noses in front again. The move started with Soapy bringing the ball out of defence and finding Stuart Armstrong who fed Gauldy who, in turn, laid it beautifully into Andrew Robertson's path for another fantastic finish. Same wrth the third goal, it started from defence with Gav Gunning, before Gauldy played in GMS to seal victory. So. as at Fir Park, I was delighted with the way the lads performed and that wasn't restricted just to the ones who started. Morgaro, Brain Graham and Goodie all came on and each fitted in to their role like a glove, showing the tremendous team spirrt we have. And that is exactly what is required for the tough programme ahead. The only cloud after the match was the injury to Gauldy who was in such irresistible form. The good news is that the injury isn't as bad as first feared and I am very hopeful of him being available this evening. His contribution to the game was such that GMS scored two goals - and almost got a hat-trick - plus Stuart Armstrong was involved in the first two goals with fantastic passes, yet both are completely overshadowed by Gauldy who was the main architect for all four goals. People say we play a 4-2-3-1 system, but in fact it is so fluid, it is hard to be so specific. For example GMS started on the right, but scored both his goals in the inside left channel. And the movement and pace is something that defender's can't handle, hence the rewards that are coming our way. And we have the players to back it up, because even when GMS went in for the first goal, when Ryan gets the ball, Mark Wilson is on for a shot as well. With both full backs joining in the attacks, there is a good balance to the team. After the resounding victones over Mothemell and Partick Thistle, I'll be looking for more of the same. but that is only what I ask of them every week. Prior to the Partick game, I could see in training that they were right up for it, but I didn't want them to get earned away with themselves. But they are a good bunch of boys and just go out and play with the same enthusiasm as they show in training. Obviously they will make mistakes here and there, but if they try to pass the ball and take responsibility, we won't fear anybody. Tonight, of course, it is the Scottish Cup and it is a trophy that we are hoping to win. But I don't like looking too far ahead, and the immediate task is to overcome Kilmarnock. Although their resuhs recently haven't been good, they haven't had too much rub of the green and in Allan Johnston have a good young manager. With Queen of the South, he had a fantastic season last year And as I know from my own experience since coming to Tannadice itt takes a bit of time to lay down your own marker. I have no doubt that he will do a great job for them, but hopefully not this evening!