1 - 2
1 - 2
League (Premier Division)
Paul Hegarty (43)
John Hewitt (20)
John Hewitt (37)
Maurice Malpas for Billy Kirkwood
John Reilly for Derek Stark
Andy Watson for Neil Simpson
Steve Cowan for Gordon Strachan
Eddie Pringle (Edinburgh) (Referee)
With St Mirren picking up a point at Celtic Park on Monday night in one of their two games in hand over United, this previously postponed match at home to Aberdeen from January had now become an important tie in United's chances of a place in Europe next season - a match the Pittodrie side had to win to prevent Celtic winning the Championship. Derek Stark's return from injury was United's only change from the weekends game at Paisley, with Maurice Malpas dropping to the bench.
The game got off to a fast start but neither 'keeper was troubled early on. The first likely move came from Aberdeen after 14 minutes with Doug Rougvie and John Hewitt working well together on the left. Rougvie tried to lob Hamish McAlpine but the 'keeper made a good save. John Holt went close soon after with a header from a Ralph Milne cross that went narrowly past. Aberdeen went ahead after 20 minutes. Gordon Strachan played a cross field pass and Paul Hegarty was happy to concede a corner. Strachan took the corner and after McAlpine and Rougvie clashed, John Hewitt mopped up to score the opener. Jim Leighton had to get down quickly to smother a Paul Sturrock shot before the Dons went further ahead. John Hewitt beat both Stark and Hegarty before shooting from a narrow angle. McAlpine parried and the winger followed up to score. Just as half-time approached United pulled one back. From an Eamonn Bannon free-kick, Paul Hegarty found space and knocked home at the back post.
Holt came close again in the second half when he headed just wide. Then Hewitt almost got his hat-trick when a long range drive brought out the best in McAlpine. Willie Miller was booked for a foul on Sturrock and from the free kick Richard Gough headed just wide. Malpas and Reilly came on as United chased the game. As the clock ticked down, Aberdeen began to regain the advantage. United's play showed signs of desperation and Holt came the closest before the referee blew for full time.
St Mirren's defeat at Ibrox on the same night meant that there was still just one point between the clubs competing for that last UEFA Cup place.
|Hamish McAlpine (GK)||34||56||-||523||3|
|Maurice Malpas (sub)||19||23||-||23||-|
|John Reilly (sub)||20||11||1||13||1|
As we step into tonight's penultimate home outing of the season, we do so in the knowledge of its importance to our chances of renewed interest in Europe next season - and also that the remedy lies entirely in ourown hands. Mind you, we can blame nobody but ourselves if in the end we fail to shrug off St Mirren's challenge for that last available UEFA Cup spot. I repeatedly warned the playeven on the return trips from Europe this term -that the only surefire way of qualifying again was by way of league points gathered. It would appear that the advice fell on deaf ears at the time. They realise that now, and honestly I cannot fault the determination displayed in recent games. But the damage may have been done before that. Certainly the finishing department has caused a few headaches of late, especially when I took the time to check up on our goalscoring chart for the season to discover that our front men had not been receiving the kind of support they might have been led to expect from the midfield division. The contributions goalwise from such as Billy Kirkwood, John Holt and even Eamonn Bannon (excluding penalties), have been unacceptable at our grade in the game. And to make things worse, the main reason that lain Phillip has been out of the side for some time now is that - I wanted three attacking midfield types!! I do not have to tell you the task we face tonight in attempting to topple in-form Aberdeen. They are a side which, as you know, I have long rated highly. All of which of course surprises me in that that "gruesome twosome" of Alex Ferguson and Archie Knox has a hand in their welfare. All I can suggest is that the players in red must simply go out each week and do their own thing!