Dundee vs Dundee United Review – Matchday Thirteen

I will be honest. I really, really don’t look forward to writing match reviews about the Dundee Derby. It isn’t so much that I don’t obsess over the fixture or get excited about the build-up, it is largely down to not being able to sum things up well enough, or use words that do the emotional rollercoaster justice. Give me the chance to write tactical thesis on our use of overlapping fullbacks against someone like Partick Thistle over the drama and intensity of this fixture any day.

However, I’ve not written for a couple of weeks and we have just PUMPED Dundee……again, so it is only right that I give you something to read as you enjoy your Saturday, your Sunday, your Monday and beyond.

Did I mention that we PUMPED Dundee?

Every pre-Dundee Derby week I pretend not to be nervous, and I pretend to be calm and controlled, but inside I am a mess. Even when I am in the stand, moments before the game begins, I stand there, arms crossed almost looking like I am someone who might be described as a bit boring or a bit flat. The reality is that I try to stay like that because I know that the moment I let go I will unleash an outpouring of emotion that is difficult to control!

The only bit and the only real moment when I can relax, is now. I can now sit back and take it all in, re-watch the game in the comfort of my own home and really, really enjoy the moment.

YAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSS!

Last time my match review wrote itself, the game was a whirlwind of football and the 6-2 scoreline meant that all I had to do was type a bit of excitable gibberish and then check in on James McPake every so often (more on that later).

So, a match review about last night? An actual match review? You’ll only be getting a wee one…

The first-half was dire. Both teams were hellbent on destroying the game of football and the quality on show was absolutely horrific. Nothing happened. Butcher nailed Byrne early doors but other than that we only really had the little Robson/Kerr/Hemmings (who?) handbags incident right at the end of the 45.

What I did enjoy was the performance of Mark Reynolds. I was told by two close friends, who I would trust with my life (just my footballing one, not my real one) that Mark Reynolds, or to give him his full name Mark ‘Beckenbauer’ Reynolds was imperious up in Inverness. Coolness personified. Apparently he played with style and grace not seen by a United central defender for years. So, what the hell happened?!?! I counted about 35 cross field punts to nobody and to be honest I really need to find new friends if that is the kind of information that I am getting.

If the lovers of 50 yard diagonals Gavin Gunning and Garry Kenneth could have a baby (and shudder at the thought), then their odd looking child would play like Reynolds did in that first-half.

Fear not, after a dismal first 45, things could only get better…

Half-time brought on a wave of sensibility from me as I toyed with the possibility of picking up a point at Dens and being reasonably happy about that. Not that I didn’t think that we could win, but I felt much more reflective knowing that, based on the early exchanges, we were shit, Dundee were shit and that I could try and enjoy the remaining 45 knowing that a point would be okay if it turned out like that.

The second-half started like the first but once we won our penalty it really was a stroll in the park. We schooled Dundee after we slotted home our first. Suddenly the touches were crisp and we were finding space. Little give and go passes started to appear all over the pitch and Dundee allowed us space and time on the ball.

United were in complete control.

What we also did was completely shut down any attempt Dundee had at making progress into our half. I thought Liam Smith, Paul Watson, Mark Reynolds and Jamie Robson were all superb in the second half and for me Smith was especially good, getting ahead of his man at every opportunity.

Ahead of the defence we suddenly found Ian Harkes after the American had went missing in the first 45. It also was true that getting booked was maybe the best thing to happen to Butcher, given that he strolled it and totally dominated Dorrans, Byrne and McGowan.

Let’s Pause.

Time for a welfare check. Not on James McPake (as I said, more of that later) but the Dundee fans, specifically those hardy souls pictured below (and this was just after the second goal).

Resume.

In the forward areas McMullan and Appere started to find space once the game opened up, with Clark and Shankland running channels and holding the ball up really well. It could have (and maybe should have) been more not for an amazing save from Hazard and if we pushed that little bit harder in the final minutes we could have seen a third or even a fourth (you can’t get too greedy though).

Talking of the final minutes…

Let’s Pause.

Time to once again check in on those fans housed to our left last night. How are they getting on? This was just ten or so minutes before the final whistle so some of them have obviously decided to follow the lead of the Bobby Cox and get to their bed…

Overall, the second half was incredibly satisfying and it led to a well deserved victory, a fantastic reception at the final whistle and a huge three points, not only for the psychology of beating Dundee (again) but that we are now four games into the second quarter and we have four wins plus four clean sheets. A maximum return on this second period of the campaign is fantastic and it sets us up for the weeks ahead.

Enjoy this my fellow United fans, there is no better feeling and you all did the club proud with an outstanding backing and some (and I hate the phrase) absolute ‘limbs’.

One final pause.

Let’s do a full-time check and see if anyone is still there….

Oh dear.

Now, in terms of the little things I speak about each week I am truly sorry but my excitement has drained my creative spirit so I am just going to have to copy and paste this next bit from my last Dundee Derby review (which is here if you fancy a wee reminisce) –

Players Ratings – 

For one week only everyone gets a 10, but that much is obvious.

Man of the Match – 

All of them.

Talking Tactics – 

I really liked the bit where we scored two goals.

The Positives – 

All of it.

Need To Work On – 

You tell me. I’m writing this whilst riding on the the crest of a wave, so at the moment – nothing.

Up Next – 

For me? Beer and a lovely weekend free of any stress. For United? Queen of the South at home and the Shanklandless lineup. More on that as the week goes on but for now – Relax. Enjoy.

Time to bring this week’s blog to a close. For the second time this season I am not here to tell you all how you feel after a Dundee Derby. 

You all know what it means. 

Last night was another special, special night and I don’t need to say much more.

Top of the league.

Four wins on the spin.

Four clean sheets in a row.

Two Derby wins out of two.

Teckle.

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Oh, there is one thing I totally forgot about, sorry.

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How is James McPake getting on?

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Oh dear.

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You want some bonus McPake AND McGowan action?

Oh, go on then…

Oh dear, oh dear.

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And what of Dundee United manager Robbie Neilson? What of his wellbeing?

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I think he is doing just fine…