2 - 2
League (First Division)
Craig Brewster (o.g.) (53)
Marko Rajamäki (82)
Brian Welsh (16)
Robbie Winters (55)
Paul Blair for Peter Cormack (82)
Scott McArthur for John Anderson (89)
Ray McKinnon for Andy McLaren (87)
Derek Lilley (11)
Steve McCahill (13)
Craig Brewster (13)
Hugh Dallas (Motherwell) (Referee)
The importance of this match brought crowd scenes reminiscent of the halcyon days of football after the war with the streets round Cappielow a hive of activity more than two hours before kick-off. The ground was packed to the rafters and the gates had been shut for a match which in terms of influence on the promotion race promised so much, but delivered so little. The home side went into the game knowing they could still finish in any one of the first four places, but nothing less than victory could bring Allan McGraw's men any tangible reward. For the Tangerines a draw was the minimum of their ambitions to guarantee a play-off with Partick Thistle and that indeed was the outcome and why we are all here tonight!
Taking no chances manager Billy Kirkwood elected to leave Gary McSwegan out in case there was a reoccurrence of his hamstring injury, so in came Andy McLaren. The one other change in the United line-up was Christian Dailly on from the start in place of Grant Johnson. Opening in determined fashion United got the all-important first goal after 16 minutes when Brian Welsh ran on unchallenged to head a Craig Brewster corner down past Wylie.
The pace was frantic and as the first half wore on Morton came into the picture. Ally Maxwell, making fine saves from headers from McCahill and Hawke. On'the resumption Morton threw every thing at United, but the manner of their equaliser was more than fortutous. Rajamäki won a corner on the left and when the Finn's low kick was less than threatening until Craig Brewster stooped to head the ball low into the near corner for an own goal. The home celebrations had barely died down when United went back in front. Steven Pressley launched a free-kick up field from inside his own half. Craig Brewster flicked it on with his head and Robbie Winters stole in to finish off the move with a header into the net via the inside of the post.
Excitement in the ranks of the United crowd reached fever-pitch with 21 minutes left when news came through that Airdrie had equalised at East End. The massed ranks of the Tangerine support erupted as United at this stage were champions. Play raged on with chances at both ends, but events within the space of a couple of minutes dictated that United's championship ambitions had passed them by. Eight minutes from time, Lilley's cross from the right was collected by Marko Rajamäki who quickly fired in a shot on the turn which beat Ally Maxwell. News then filtered through that Duntermine whose game kicked off ten minutes late had gone back in front. There was a sharp intake ot breath by the United support when a Reid header slipped agonisingly over. The final whistle denied Morton better than third place and left United in the limbo of the play-offs!
"We have to be positive and not dwell on what is past." - Billy Kirkwood
|Ally Maxwell (GK)||31||41||-||41||-|
|Ray McKinnon (sub)||25||13||-||75||7|
|League results since United's last match|
|4th May 1996|