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League (Premier Division)
Stewart McKimmie (o.g.) (40)
||Iain Ferguson (pen)(28)|
Danny Cameron for Derek Fleming
Ray Stephen for Albert Kidd
David Syme (Rutherglen) (Referee)
After European and Scottish Cup games it was back to League duty for United, with a rearranged Dundee derby at Tannadice - a game that was initially postponed back in January. With a squad hit with a flu bug, United had to pull out of the Reserve League Cup final the previous night to make sure they had enough players fit for this rescheduled match - a move that incurred the wrath of the Scottish League. Richard Gough and Billy Kirkwood were both out, however Ralph Milne made it back into the side after the illness had prevented him from playing at the weekend.
United sparkled in the early stages and Davie Dodds was only inches away with a near post flick after Paul Sturrock and Milne had carved open the Dark Blues' defence. The in 24 minutes, Milne jinked his way through three tackles before finishing weakly six yards out. Relegation threatened Dundee, who before the match were two points adrift at the foot of the table, took a surprise lead in their first real attack. When Derek Fleming found himself clean through on goal, Hamish McAlpine saved his effort, but the ball rebounded to Albert Kidd and when he clashed with Eamonn Bannon, the referee awarded a penalty kick. Iain Ferguson netted from the spot kick. Five minutes before half-time United drew level, when a brilliant solo run from Milne ended with his far post cross bulleted into the roof of the net by Dundee defender Stewart McKimmie.
The second half was even more one-sided that the first, but United again displayed a lack of finishing power that could cost them in the weeks ahead. The point for Dundee pulled them a step closer to relegation rivals Airdrie and Partick, and United remained in sixth place, two points behind Hibs but with four games in hand over the Edinburgh side.
|Hamish McAlpine (GK)||34||42||-||509||3|
Allow me to say right away that we here at Tannadice are all bitterly disappointed at last weekend's events when Scottish Cup elimination at Love Street meant the end of the road in that competition this season. While we take nothing for granted, it was vital for our club to be involved at this stage in all the semi-finals we can. But the biggest upset to every single staff member was the fact that our defeat was suffered in front of such a large and marvellous travelling support in Paisley. But while I can honestly say that in my opinion we deserved to come out of the tie with at least a replay chance, the plain facts were there to be seen by everyone with United allegiances. And these are that for too long now we have been dependant on too few! Players such as Paul Sturrock, Eamonn Bannon and Ralph Milne clearly became the lynchpins for too long a period, and when things started to go wrong with them then the vital goal supply dried up. And let's face it, none of the trio has exactly set the heather on fire since that enforced "winter break." Not that I am blaming the weather, I'm not, the whole thing simply boils down to my original point, that when certain individuals aren't on song then things fail to happen in the side. In all probability the main criticism should be aimed at the fringe members of the squad, few of whom have progressed or challenged sufficiently to ease the problems when the key men have gone off song. But while our league challenge has fallen off of late we still must maintain the standards we set at Tannadice nowadays and achieve the end-of season position in the table which we deem correct for a club of our standing in the game. To that end, despite the fact that it is important for us that city neighbours Dundee maintain their Premier League place, victory is essential tonight. It will not be easy, it never is in derby clashes, but a continuation of our ascendancy of late in the series is of major importance to us here at Tannadice.