Dundee 0-3 Dundee United: Demolition derby from Daly
IF, AS expected, Dundee are invited to replace Rangers in the Scottish Premier League, they will hope to fare better against their city rivals than they did in yesterday’s pre-season friendly.
Scorers: Dundee United - Daly 3, 82, 83
Three goals by Jon Daly, one at the start of the match, and two near the end, led to a couple of teasing chants from the noisy visiting support. “SPL, you’re having a laugh,” was one. “We want Dundee up,” was the other.
To be fair, Barry Smith’s team played better than the scoreline suggests, but that’s not what they were talking about in the pubs last night. Instead, the chat was about whether Dundee will indeed be promoted from the First Division, and why it is taking so long for clarification to emerge.
Scot Gardiner, their chief executive, describes his club as the only one in the world who don’t know what division they will be playing in next season, an embarrassing consequence of the unique shambles to which Scottish football has been reduced these last few weeks.
He is adamant that they should win the nod ahead of Dunfermline Athletic “on sporting merit”, and desperately hopes that he will be informed as much after tomorrow’s SPL meeting at Hampden. “For goodness sake, somebody now step up here, get a grip and make the call,” he says. “The rules look pretty clear to us.”
This was a good advert for their inclusion. The game has got itself into a right old mess, but somebody forgot to tell the supporters of these two clubs, more than 10,000 of whom packed into Dens Park for a fixture that has been all too rare in recent years. The last Dundee derby of any description was in 2009, the last competitive one in 2005. This colourful spectacle was a taste of what the city, and indeed the game nationwide, has been missing.
If Dundee are given the SPL go-ahead, there will be at least three more of these games in the season ahead, which will make up for the loss of gate revenue at Tannadice, as well as help Scottish football make its first tentative steps into a new era. As the two clubs were well aware when they arranged this one, derbies are the way ahead in financially-challenging times.
Had it not been for the appearance on the team sheet of a couple of trialists, it would have been easy to forget that it was a pre-season friendly, what with the smoke flares trackside, toilet roll strewn across the penalty box and a capacity crowd making quite a racket. A goal within three minutes of the start only heightened the atmosphere. Willo Flood’s inswinging free-kick led to an ugly collision in the six-yard area between Daly, Rab Douglas and Neil McGregor, the upshot of which was a header by the United striker that squirmed over the line.
While the case for Dundee’s inclusion in the SPL has nothing to do with footballing ability, a better start wouldn’t have gone amiss.It wasn’t long before they were demonstrating their worth. Ryan Conroy had already poked wide in the opening seconds, and Stephen O’Donnell’s shot was blocked by Radoslaw Cierznik, United’s new goalkeeper.
The home side also started the second half well, but fatigue was always going to be an issue, and it showed in the closing minutes. With eight minutes left, Daly thrashed a left-foot shot high into the net, before quickly making it three, turning in a low cross by John Rankin. “The football, the turnout... that’s what Scottish football should be focusing on, not all the arguments,” said Smith. “Today highlights the interest in the derby, the interest in football as a whole.”
Dundee: Douglas; Irvine, McGregor, Gallacher, Trialist – Riley, O’Donnell (Webster 53), McBride (McIntosh 43), Conway – Davidson, Baird. Subs: Gibson, Benedictus, Reid, Trialist
Dundee United: Cierznik; Watson, McLean, Gunning, Dillon; Flood (Dow 75), Ryan (Millar 71), Rankin (Gauld 87), Mackay-Steven (Armstrong 54); Daly, Russell (Gardyne 54). Subs: Banks, Armstrong, Hilson, Barrat.
Referee: B Madden.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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