The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
Huge disappointment for the largest ever gathering of Arabs as United slumped to a 2-0 defeat to this seasons bogey team, St. Johnstone. Few would have argued with Manager Jackie McNamara's team selection ahead of this game. The United boss probably had three key team selection decisions to make and for that he preferred Watson to Wilson, Dow to Gauld and Dillon to Souttar. Otherwise the side was along familiar lines. There was a great atmosphere in Celtic Park, the venue for this cup final due to the Hampden redevelopment for this years Commonwealth games. St. Johnstone started stronger but United were looking dangerous on the counter attack. However, it was Cierzniak who was first called into action when a dangerous Easton cross was knocked out to Dunne at the edge of the United area and his fierce strike had to be touched over the bar. From the resulting corner the Saints came close again, this time Wright forced Cierzniak into a save. United's best move of the game came close to giving their start performer Dow with a goal. Some neat one touch passing provided Ranking the opportunity to find Robertson on the left and his great cross was met by Dow who flicked the ball of the inside of the post. Somehow the ball evaded the diving Manus and avoided rebounding into the net. However, with the teams looking finely balanced as the seconds passed towards half-time, St. Johnstone took the lead. Wotherspoon swung a corner into the back post, Cierzniak left his line but missed it completely and Steven Anderson rose unchallenged to head high into the net. That was to be the last action of the half.In the second half United pushed for an equaliser but for the most part, St. Johnstone had them matched. The closest they came was when Nadir Çiftçi struck a beautiful free-kick from the edge of the box off the underside of the bar. Just like the Dow incident in the first half, somehow the ball avoided bouncing back into the net of Manus and gratefully grasped it. Çiftçi, Armstrong and substitute Graham all came close, striking narrowly wide from in and around the box but the sucker punch came with just minutes remaining. St. Johnstone got a break that United would have so appreciated up to this point in the match. An infield pass was diverted in to the path of Steven MacLean by Rankin and after a challenge on the 'keeper he was quick enough to get a touch to the loose ball and prod home. The goal effectively killed the game and St. Johnstone saw out the remaining minutes to win the cup for the first time.Match Photos courtesy of Riki Grauer - More photos available at:Dundee United Official Flickr Page