Dundee United v Linfield
Scottish Challenge Cup, 3rd Round
Ground: Tannadice Park, Dundee
As a football fan, my first thought of Dundee was obviously the picture of 2 football stadiums in the same street. I have seen the grounds from the outside, but it was time for my first visit to one of them. I decided to choose the 3rd round in the Scottish Challenge Cup between Dundee United and Northern Irish champions Linfield. The Challenge Cup (known as Irn Bru Cup for commercial reasons, but I prefer using original names) is a competition between teams in the Scottish lower divisions and from last season 2 teams each from Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Wales. Championship clubs often don’t take this competition seriously. The same goes for Dundee United who, despite being the holders, only fielded a youth team. The game kicked off at 17.15 due to it being live on BBC Alba.
Dundee United is one of 2 big teams in Dundee, the other one being SPL side Dundee FC. They were founded in 1909 as Dundee Hibernian and changed to the current name in 1923. In 1910 they were accepted in the Scottish Football League, where they haven’t had any main successes until their promotion to the top flight (then the First Division) in 1960, where they stayed until 1995. In 1966 they played in their first European tournament, the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, knocking Barcelona out. Their biggest successes were winning the league in 1983, the Scottish Cup in 1994 & 2010 and reaching the UEFA-Cup final in 1987, again beating Barcelona on the way.
Tannadice Park is a nice stadium, more modern than their neighbours, but still much more a “traditional” football ground than most of the modern grounds I’ve seen in England before my move north of the border. Due to the low profile of the game, there were fewer than 2,000 fans in the ground, with several hundred away fans. Most of the away fans appeared to be Rangers fans, who have strong ties with Linfield. Only a fairly small group seemed to have made the journey from Northern Ireland. The game was far from great. It was clear that Dundee United didn’t play their best team. Linfield were slightly better most of the game, having had most of the chances, although later on in the second half Dundee United started getting more into the game. Everyone seemed to have resigned to extra time, until Dundee United scored a late winner deep into stoppage time. This resulted in some banter from the United fans towards the away end.
Overall it was a nice trip, but I can’t really judge Dundee United for atmosphere just yet. To be able to do that, I need to go to a bigger game.