3 - 4
3 - 4
League (Premier Division)
Michael O'Neill (27)
Michael O'Neill (50)
Duncan Ferguson (69)
Charlie Nicholas (9)
Tommy Coyne (17)
John Collins (45)
John Collins (87)
Mixu Paatelainen for Hamish French (46)
Gerry Creaney for Tony Cascarino (39)
Mike Galloway for Steve Fulton (73)
Dave Bowman (20)
Billy McKinlay (41)
Pat Bonner (27)
Derek Whyte (28)
Gerry Creaney (41)
Brian McGinlay (Balfron) (Referee)
The opening match of the season produced an explosive start with new signing Jochem Muller making his debut. There was almost a sensational start for the German newcomer when Bonner managed to pluck his header out from under the bar. However, it was Celtic who drew first blood in what was to develop into a quite fascinating contest. Charlie Nicholas headed Celtic ahead from close in after only nine minutes. There was a further set-back for us when Tommy Coyne took a return pass from Charlie Nicholas and blasted home a second from just inside the box after 17 minutes. However, a controversial penalty award ten minutes later brought us back into contention. Referee Brian McGinlay spotted Duncan Ferguson being held and after Bonner had been booked Michael O'Neillstepped up to hammer the spot-kick high into the net. Thereafter we enjoyed our best spell of the game to date only for Celtic to grab an unexpected third when John Collins lofted drive from 25 yards went in via the underside of the bar.
The pace of events didn't slacken after the break because within four minutes of the re-start Michael O'Neill reduced the arrears with a first time shot after John O'Neil's first effort had been blocked. This match of fluctuating fortunes took another twist in the 69th minute when Duncan Ferguson rose to head in a Dave Bowman cross into the top left-hand corner.
Just when it seemed both sides had settled for a point Celtic stole both points in this amazing contest when John Collins struck a long range effort high into the net from 25 yards. Even in the couple of minutes remaining we might have rescued a point. Only a finger-tip save by Paddy Bonner prevented John O'Neil equalising and then Michael O'Neill blazed a shot over just before the final whistle went.
|Alan Main (GK)||23||1||-||87||-|
|Mixu Paatelainen (sub)||24||1||-||139||38|
No league table has been added for this season.
Making a good start to a new season is so very important and that is, therefore, our primary objective.
When you consider the manner in which we finished last season, losing out to today's opponents for a U.E.F.A. Cup spot and then falling to Motherwell in extra-time in the Scottish Cup Final, the end of last season clearly had a disappointing finale.
Those set-backs illustrated one of the major problems in the modern game — players attitude. I don't normally make a habit of dwelling on past events,
because I always consider the most important game is the one which lies ahead.
However, I find the kind of criticism voiced in our local paper and in other quarters about our failure to clinch a European spot for the first time in fifteen years as nothing short of ridiculous.
Most clubs, if not all those with limited resources, would be happy to have participated in Europe once over a similar period. To put our record in perspective, only Aberdeen in Scotland, can match our attendance record
in Europe over those 15 years and that highlights just what high standards we have come to accept as the norm at Tannadice.
Now, however, it is time to talk and concentrate more on the campaign ahead.
I've no doubt that all United fans will share my disappointment that, at the time of writing, we have failed to add any outfield players of quality and experience to augment the pool of talented young players within the club. The situation is exacerbated today by the loss through suspension of three, if not four, players who would normally figure in our starting line-up over what is an extremely busy first week to the new season.
None the less we couldn't have wished for a more attractive way in which to open the new seasonthan by the visit of Celtic. These are games we always relish and the occasion is spice by Liam Brady's first game in charge of the Parkhead side. I am sure todays game will live up to the entertainment value these clashes usually produce and hope that "the "result, as it has in the past, favours us.