THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Scottish League Cup semi-final, second leg

DundeeUtdvCeltic40010 November ~ Celtic carried a 2-0 first leg lead to Tannadice against a Dundee United team that had appeared in the three previous finals, winning two of them. United had wiped that lead out by the 64th minute, but a red card for defender John Holt 12 minutes before the end put them on the back foot. A last-minute Charlie Nicholas strike took Celtic to their first League Cup final since 1978, where they beat Rangers 2-1 the following month.

The slim programme is an instructive reflection of a time when Scottish league football was a genuinely competitive entity, and United manager Jim McLean had high expectations of his squad. "For too long this season we have had too few players on top form," he moans after a 5-1 defeat at Aberdeen the previous weekend, despite the fact that the team had gone unbeaten in 19 games from the opening day. Only three of those games, though, was the fastidious McLean prepared to classify as "exceptional performances".

One of those was a 2-0 away win at PSV Eindhoven in the Uefa Cup, a game which gets some attention on the Club News page under the headline Scant Praise. World Soccer's Dutch correspondent Jan Hermen de Bruijn is quoted as having described the game as "probably their worst match in the club's [PSV's] history. The fact that the score wasn't even higher than 0-2 was very much the result of inaccurate shooting by the Scottish players." The programme counters that this was "hardly the most complimentary of comments on one of United's best European performances. Obviously the Dutch scribe hasn't heard the football adage that you can only play as well as the other team lets you.”

That almost counts as an opinion. The manager's ref-bashing notes aside (or, in McLean's case, player-bashing), it's not something you often see in match programmes. Count this one as a collector's item.

Targeting the fan demographic "Make economy your goal!" By buying the Talbot Samba, claiming 61.4 miles per gallon "at a steady 56mph". In terms of relative speed, a sort of automobile equivalent of Paul Hegarty.

Result Dundee United 2 (Aitken OG, Sturrock) Celtic 1 (Nicholas) Aggregate 2-3

Crowd 15,000

Dundee United McAlpine, Holt, Malpas, Gough, Hegarty, Narey, Bannon, Milne, Kirkwood, Sturrock, Dodds Unused subs Stark, Reilly

Celtic Bonner, McGrain, Sinclair, Aitken, McAdam, Burns, Provan (McCluskey), McStay, McGarvey, MacLeod, Nicholas Unused Sub Reid

Ian Plenderleith 

Related articles

It’s Not All About The Old Firm: Defying the odds in Scottish football
by Scott Burns Pitch Publishing, £12.99Reviewed by Gordon CairnsFrom WSC 373, March 2018Buy the book Eight clubs from outside Glasgow have...
The best and worst moments of 2017 ~ part two
Embed from Getty Images // From Lincoln’s triumphant season to Huddersfield’s heart-warming promotion, via Chelsea’s return to...
The best and worst moments of 2017 ~ part one
Embed from Getty Images // From Scotland’s failures to the triumph of England’s Under-17s, via John Terry, astounding Cup runs and...