We are all well aware of our friends across the road's liking for playing and actually scoring major successes at Dens Park, but the situation was reversed long before United were regarded as a major force in Scottish football.
DUNDEE SHATTER ORMOND'S SAINTS EUROPEAN DREAM!
In fact Dundee probably started the trend of big tournament successes on each other’s ground when they earned the right to meet tonight's opponents St. Johnstone at Tannadice in the Semi-Final of the Scottish League Cup in season 1967/68.
Both sides were desperate to succeed and the added spice of a local derby made it all the more intriguing.
These Tayside neighbours both had ambitious but different motives for success that October evening in 1967.
FOR DUNDEE - Victory would be another step towards their biggest aim - a real challenge to the Old Firm, who incidentally had both been in European finals the season before with the Lisbon Lions triumphing over Inter Milan and Rangers falling at the final hurdle to Bayern Munich in Nuremberg, only after extra-time. Heady days indeed for Scots clubs!
FOR SAINTS - Victory would take them closer to manager Willie Ormond's dream - a place in European football.
Ormond had primed his players well and instilled in them that they had nothing to fear from a Dundee side who had just come through a tough 1st Round Fairs Cup tie against D.W. S. Amsterdam and had already tasted Europe and wanted some more!
Dundee had a couple of niggly injury problems with both Bobby Cox and soon to be Irish Internationalist, Billy Campbell doubtful. Campbell made it and Cox didn't, which let Doug Houston in at left back for a crucial match for both clubs.
Before a large enthusiastic derby crowd at Tannadice on 11 October 1967, the teams were as follows:
DUNDEE: Donaldson, R.Wilson, Houston; Murray, Stewart and Stuart; Campbell, J. Mclean, S.Wilson, G. Mclean and Bryce.
ST.JOHNSTONE: Donaldson, McGillivray, Coburn; Miller, Rooney, McPhee; Aird, Whitelaw, McCarry, Wilson and McDonald.
Alex Stuart, left half and captain that night, but now Dundee District Council's Leisure and Recreation Manager, recalls how remarkably once again Dundee kept their best football of the season for another big match.
'Dundee were the favourites without a doubt', Alex remembers, 'and the papers were sure Willie Ormond's dream of Europe would end against Dundee.'
In fact Dundee were even confident of beating Celtic in the final (who absolutely stuffed Morton in the other semi 7-1! ).
Remember by this time Celtic were European Champions and were contesting the ill-fated World Club Championship.
The night turned out to be a personal nightmare for Saint's half-back (remember them?) George Miller.
Saints led at half-time through a goal from Whitelaw which was one of the strangest of the season.
Alex Stuart recalls,' I tried to pass back to Ally Donaldson but hit it far too hard and it hit off Ally and rebounded to George Stewart. He tried to clear but the ball hit off Tom Wilson and cannoned across goal for Whitelaw to head into the empty net!'
'In the second half Dundee hit them with everything and moved swiftly into top gear with Billy Campbell in brilliant form, teasing and tormenting the Saint's defence. He was involved in both the first and second Dundee goals but the unfortunate player was undoubtedly George Miller who first sliced a clearance into his own net and then had a Campbell cross ricochet off him into the net to put Dundee 2-1 ahead.'
Jim McLean scored late on from the penalty spot to seal things for the Dark Blues and propel them to an exciting Final clash with the European Champions.
Miller was not to blame as Saints really didn't cash in on a good first half performance and lost their nerve as Dundee and particularly Billy Campbell piled on the pressure.
Alex Stuart remembers Dundee manager, Bobby Ancell as a real gentleman and he wasn't big on tactics preferring instead to pick the team and let them play - changed days indeed!
'We lost the final 3-5 to Celtic but it went down as probably the most entertaining League Cup Final ever with Dundee pushing Celtic all the way, but this was a world class Celtic side and to lose as Dundee did won them many friends.'
Dundee's season had more great moments that year with a run to the Fairs Cup semi which thrilled Dundee fans throughout that year.
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