Writer: Arab Jacques
Date:Saturday November 25 2006
Despite losing 2-1 at East End Park last weekend, Craig Levein could still lead Dundee United to 3-in-a-row for the 1st time since 2004.
Fortress Tannadice used to be a place teams feared to visit, it was a place where the defence held firm & the strikers scored for fun, cheered on by vocal support from 'The Shed`.
Barcelona, Lens, Borrusia Moenchengladback, Newcastle, Dumbarton....many sides have come to Tannadice over the years & left with little or nothing to show for their efforts.
Dundee United now only have to beat Saint Mirren on Sunday and they will have won 3 home matches in-a-row for the first time since the 2003/2004.
Although there are some spooky similarities between then & now, which a superstitious Craig Levein is surely to highlight to his players.
On the 29th Feb 2004 - Dundee United beat Rangers (2-0) and then on the 20th March beat Kilmarnock (4-1), before beating Motherwell 1-0 the following week.
This time, Dundee United have already beaten Rangers and Kilmarnock, maybe not a convincingly as 2004, but this time it`s the Paisley side that stand in the way of 3-in-a-row.
David McCracken will surely play an important part in any eventual win against Gus MacPherson`s side, partnering youngster Garry Kenneth in the heart of the United defence.
"I couldn`t tell you when the last time we won three home games in a row was, but we`ve started off well since the gaffer`s come in and we have to go about continuing that and it`s important to give the fans something to cheer about" said McCracken.
"It must have been a nightmare for them, there were four or five results in a row where we were losing three or four goals at a time, but they stuck by us and kept coming to watch us."
He continued "In the Rangers and Kilmarnock games they really got behind us, and we need them to do that again tomorrow."
"It won`t be easy because St Mirren are a decent side, but we`re at home and we`ve got to take the game to them."
If - or should that be when - Dundee United do finally beat St Mirren on Sunday, the next home match will be against Inverness Caley Thistle 2 weeks later…..beating them would mean an impressive 4-in-a-row, which hasn`t happened since 1999.
Then is was Paul Sturrock that managed Dundee United to wins over Aberdeen (3-1), St Johnstone (1-0), Motherwell (3-2) in the League Cup and finally local rivals Dundee (1-0) on the 12th December 1999…..just don`t ask when the last time United won 4 league matches in row was, because records might not even go back that far!!!
Ok, it was during the 1996/97 season, when Tommy McLean who had only been incharge for a few months after taking over from Billy Kirkwood.
Tommy McLean then lead United on a 5 game unbeaten run at Tannadice beating both sides of the Old Firm in the process.
Rangers (1-0), Motherwell (2-0), Aberdeen (4-0), Kilmarnock (2-0) and finally Celtic all succumbed to the impressive United side, which included fan favourites like Dykstra, McInally, Bowman, Malpas, Pressley, Perry, Pedersen, Olofsson, Zetterlund ,Winters, McSwegan and McLaren
On that occasion only a 0-0 draw against Hibernian thwarted the record continuing any further, but in total Tommy McLean`s side went an amazing 12 games unbeaten at Tannadice (10 league, 2 cup), before losing the last game of the season 1-0 to League Champions Rangers on the 7th May 1997.
Many United supporters are hoping that Craig Levein will inspire a similar sort of run at home, bringing back the days when visiting sides are once again afraid to come to fortress Tannadice.
However, first things first - victory over Saint Mirren & Levein isn`t taking anything for granted.
"One hundred percent effort and concentration is vital."
"We can`t afford to under- estimate them because they have put together some impressive performances so far."
"They are a decent, well-organised side—that`s something we`re striving for."
10-in-a-row here we come........
Date:Saturday November 25 2006
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