Dundee Utd 1
Partick Th 1
League (Championship)

Dundee Utd
1 - 1
Partick Th 

League (Championship)
Saturday, January 5th, 2019
Tannadice Park. Att. 5,282
3:00 PM Kick-off

Fraser Fyvie (pen.) (62)
Kris Doolan (9)

Team Managers
Robbie Neilson
Gary Caldwell

Starting Eleven
1. Benji Siegrist
2. Stewart Murdoch
3. Callum Booth
19. Rachid Bouhenna
4. Frédéric Frans
33. Fraser Aird
8. Fraser Fyvie
12. Sam Stanton
14. Pavol Šafranko
16. Matty Smith
7. Paul McMullan
Conor Hazard .15
Christie Elliott .2
Steven Saunders .43
Sean McGinty .6
James Penrice .3
Blair Spittal .7
Gary Harkins .11
Stuart Bannigan .8
Craig Slater .17
Kris Doolan .9
Miles Storey .19

34. Matej Rakovan
17. Jamie Robson
44. Paul Watson
11. Billy King
15. Aidan Nesbitt
20. Christoph Rabitsch
9. Craig Curran
Jamie Sneddon .23
Chris Erskine .10
Andrew McCarthy .16
Callum Wilson .20
Daniel Jefferies .30
Joe Cardle .32
Alistair Roy .99

Aidan Nesbitt for Fraser Aird (46)
Billy King for Matty Smith (78)
Joe Cardle for Gary Harkins (65)
Daniel Jefferies for Steven Saunders (76)
Alistair Roy for Miles Storey (80)

Callum Booth (48)
Blair Spittal (90)
Joe Cardle (90)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Bobby Madden (Referee)
Paul O'Neill & Colin Drummond (Assistants)

Match Report

United began 2019 with a home game against bottom side Patrick Thistle at Tannadice.

Boss Robbie Neilson made three changes from the team which lost 2-1 to Alloa in United’s previous game, with Matty Smith, Fraser Aird and the fit again Fraser Fyvie all going back into the starting line up. Paul Watson, Billy King and Craig Curran all dropped to the bench. Also among the substitutes was new signing Aidan Nesbitt, who had joined United from MK Dons the previous day. Ross County’s defeat against Morton the previous evening gave United a chance to cut the gap at the top of the Championship to four points with a win.

Partick Thistle had been on a poor run of form, with only one win to their name since the appointment of Gary Caldwell as manager in October. The Jags had surely been hoping for a quick return to the Scottish Premiership after last year’s relegation, but found themselves at the bottom of the league. There were a few familiar faces in the Thistle line up, with former United players Craig Slater and Blair Spittal starting the game, and with Chris Erskine among the substitutes.

The first half performance from Dundee United was one of the worst in recent memory, and the home side were very lucky to only be one goal down at the break after a display that was sluggish in the extreme. The Jags took a mere three minutes to create their first chance when an angled drive from Miles Storey was well saved by Ben Siegrist after the Thistle player had latched on to a long ball out of defence, and Kris Doolan could only divert the rebound wide of the post. Four minutes after that, Siegrist was again forced into action with a fine save when a James Penrice cross from the left was headed towards goal by Doolan.

Even though the first goal arrived in only the 9th minute, it was a goal which had certainly been coming. Poor United defending from a set piece created the chance, after a blocked Blair Spittal free kick led to a corner kick on the United right. Craig Slater sent the ball over and United left Partick Thistle danger man Kris Doolan completely unmarked around eight yards from goal. Doolan did not waste the chance, heading past the helpless Siegrist to give the away side the lead.

The goal did not wake United up, and two minutes later it was almost 2-0 when only a last ditch block by the United defence prevented Stuart Bannigan from netting from a Miles Storey cross. The same player was almost played in on goal again a minute later, but luckily for United he failed to control the ball when a decent first touch would surely have led to a second goal.

The United players were second to almost every ball and it took a full 24 minutes before they managed to create their first chance when a shot from Paul McMullan was saved by Thistle goalkeeper Conor Hazard. Their next chance was a full ten minutes later when Pavol Safranko headed just over the bar after Fraser Fyvie had clipped the ball into the box in what was a rare moment of creativity for Dundee United in the first half. Miles Storey had another chance soon afterwards when he was first to a knockdown from Conor Hazard’s kick-out and he controlled well with his thigh before shooting. His swerving volley looked goalbound but was parried well by Siegrist.

Five minutes before half time, Partick Thistle created yet another chance when some good football helped to feed Miles Storey the ball on the right flank. He intelligently cut the ball back to the late runner Blair Spittal but the former United winger's low effort was excellently saved by Ben Siegrist who got down quickly with his right hand to keep Spittal out. It seems at this point that Siegrist was single-handedly keeping the Jags at bay, and the half time whistle blew with United somehow only being one goal down.

Robbie Neilson’s response at half time was to bring on new signing Aidan Nesbitt for Fraser Aird. Nesbitt did see a lot of the ball as the game drew on, but he was generally well marshalled by his opponents. He did nearly have the best possible start to his United career as four minutes into the half he shot just past the post after playing a fine one-two with Paul McMullan.

The two sides traded blows for the first fifteen minutes of the half, which at least stemmed the tide of Partick Thistle dominance we saw in the first half. Pavol Safranko headed over the bar from a Stewart Murdoch cross, before a long range effort from former Dundee player Gary Harkins, making his first appearance in his second spell at Partick Thistle, was well saved by Ben Siegrist. Paul McMullan tried the same thing at the other end a minute later, and saw the same result as Conor Hazard saved his long range effort on goal. McMullan was the man trying to make things happen for United, and soon afterwards he turned creator by firing a low cross into the box that Hazard did well to clear under pressure from Pavol Safranko and Aidan Nesbitt.

As it turned out Partick Thistle would be punished for missing all of those first half chances as the home side drew level on 61 minutes. The goal came from a spot kick which was awarded after Sean McGinty fouled Aidan Nesbitt in the box. United captain Fraser Fyvie stepped up to take the penalty and calmly sent Conor Hazard the wrong way to make it 1-1.

A great chance for Dundee United to take the lead after 70 minutes came and went as Sam Stanton played in Pavol Safranko, but the big striker saw his shot superbly saved by Conor Hazard. The home side did have the ball in the back of the net after 74 minutes but the celebrations were cut short by the referee’s whistle. With the ball high in the air, Conor Hazard came to claim the ball. Frederic Frans was nearby though and appeared to try and put Hazard off with a sly nudge. The Thistle goalkeeper consequently dropped the ball into the net but was saved by referee Bobby Madden, who judged there to have been a foul.

United were the team pushing for the three points now, but found it hard to break down the Partick Thistle rearguard. There were a couple of opportunities for United to win the game in the last ten minutes as they piled the pressure on, but to no avail as Conor Hazard saved twice from Paul McMullan, and both Fraser Fyvie and Aidan Nesbitt hit shots wide.

The final whistle blew soon afterwards, and United were left to reflect on a rather disappointing result which left them six points off the top of the Championship, although to counter that it could easily be argued that United were lucky to get the single point they did get given how bad the first half performance was.

Written by Derek Keilloh

Squad Statistics (as at January 5th, 2019)

2018-19 All Time
Benji Siegrist (GK)26 16 - 16 -
Callum Booth27 171171
Rachid Bouhenna27 16 - 16 -
Stewart Murdoch28 16 - 821
Frédéric Frans30 202202
Fraser Aird23 223223
Sam Stanton24 192679
Fraser Fyvie25 142315
Pavol Šafranko24 198198
Paul McMullan22 2336312
Matty Smith21 111355
Aidan Nesbitt (sub)21 1 - 1 -
Billy King (sub)24 1726510

Team Sheet (Scanned Photo)

League Table (as at January 5th, 2019)

Pld W D L +/- Pts
1. Ross County 20 11 6 3 +19 39
2. Ayr Utd 19 10 6 3 +17 36
3. DUNDEE UTD 20 9 6 5 +1 33
4. Morton 20 7 7 6 -5 28
5. QOS 20 6 9 5 +6 27
6. Inverness CT 19 5 11 3 +4 26
7. Dunfermline 20 6 6 8 -5 24
8. Alloa Athletic 20 4 8 8 -8 20
9. Falkirk 20 4 4 12 -14 16
10. Partick Th 20 4 3 13 -15 15

League results since United's last match
4th January 2019
Morton1-0Ross County
5th January 2019
Ayr Utd0-1Falkirk
Dundee Utd1-1Partick Th
Dunfermline2-2Alloa Athletic
Inverness CT1-2QOS

Manager's Programme Notes

First of all can I wish everyone a very Happy New Year. We ended 2018 with two very contrasting performances and results. Having been really pleased with the Falkirk game from which the 2-1 scoreline didn't do justice to how well we played, the defeat at Alloa last Saturday was unacceptable. We know that and spoke quite harshly after the game because the players have to do a whole lot better than they did. Frustratingly, we dominated the game, but they must take on more responsibility and make the right decisions at the right time, whether that be attacking-wise or defensively. That was the big disappointment for me because we are trying to get promoted out of a league, the players really have to start stepping up to the plate and make the right decisions and I don't think any of them did atAlloa.

As has been well publicised I am looking to bring in several new faces to bolster the squad. Ideally, I would have liked to have done all the transfer business on the very first day, but realistically that wasn't going to happen. Certainly, I would like to get one or two in before today's game against Partick Thistle. But I would prefer to wait if I have to get players of the right quality as opposed to just jumping in. So yes, we want to get them in as fast as we can but not rush these things just for the sake of speed, A feature of both the games against Alloa and indeed both the previous meetings against Partick has been conceding late goals. That shows how important concentration levels in British football where teams are always pressing and even when you are 3-0 up you are still under pressure. So, not conceding in the latter stages of the game is so important. Our visitors today have had a difficult season with Alan (Archibald) going and Gary (Caldwell) coming in I'd expect their board to back Gary in the window and he'll be looking to do his business early and get a few newcomers on board. Indeed, he has already signed Gary Harkins who brings a bit of quality in the middle of the park and I'd expect him to be involved at some point today. The most frustrating thing about last week was that, with the fantastic numbers of fans that travelled to Alloa, we sent them home disappointed. layers, we can start getting this Club to where it needs to get to.