Do you remember the dark days of winter in season 1973/74? If you think we are in a recession now, back in that winter Britain was reeling under three-day working weeks, power cuts and enough doom and gloom to last a lifetime - except at Dens Park!
SUNDAY SOCCER TREATS FOR DENS FANS!
We venture back again with Billy Campbell's Ghost, this time his 1992 article on Dundee's 1974 Scottish cup run which ended in a 1-0 defeat to Celtic in the semi-finals.
With the power cuts came early kick-offs to save on floodlighting and Dundee lifted the League Cup that season by defeating Celtic 1-0 at Hampden in a game that kicked off at 1pm and had such appalling weather that only around 30,000 were in attendance.
Dundee also played a number of Sunday games then and became known as the 'Sunday Specials' as they won virtually every game they played including a fantastic Scottish Cup run and a couple of League wins - one which was a 2-1 victory at Parkhead.
Having already won the League Cup that season, Dundee eagerly awaited the draw for the Scottish Cup and were paired with old north-east rivals Aberdeen at Pittodrie, a game immediately moved to the Sunday, 27 January 1974.
The next round draw had been made after the Saturday ties and the winners had been drawn to meet rangers at Ibrox in the next round! So every incentive was there and the scene was set.
A huge travelling support headed up to the Granite City that day hoping to douse the Northern Lights and set off on the trail for double cup glory.
Around 24,000 were in Pittodrie that afternoon as the teams lined up:
Aberdeen: Clark, Williamson and Hermiston; Smith, Young and Miller; Graham, Robb, Jarvie, Henry and Purdie.
Dundee: Allan, R.Wilson and Johnston; Ford, Phillip and Gemmell; J. Wilson, Robinson, Duncan, Scott and Lambie.
My memories are of sitting on a freezing cold day in the main stand witnessing a marvellous away performance surrounded by huge numbers of Dundee fans thoroughly enjoying the discomfort of the dispirited Dons fans.
Davie Johnston, left back for the Dees that day has special memories as he scored one of his rare goals for the Dark Blues- a 25 yarder at that!
'Aberdeen had a hoodoo over Dundee and maybe still do, as they always seemed to dispose of us with relative ease for some unknown reason, but this day we were outstanding.
We had the League Cup on the sideboard at Dens and were now a confident, good footballing side and as an Aberdeen lad I was always fired up for these derbies in particular!' 'I remember little detail of the match but my goal does stick in my mind (what a surprise Davie!). Bobby Ford had a shot blocked and I hit the rebound from around 25 yards and as Bobby Clark went one way, it struck Jim Henry and deflected into the other corner. I believe a paper put it down as an o.g. but take it from me - it was mine!
The Dundee support were ecstatic and out sang the home fans so that it was almost like a home game for Dundee.
'Late in the second half, just after missing a sitter, Bobby 'Trigger' Robinson blasted one in the roof of the net to clinch it for us and our trip to Ibrox was confirmed'.
This finally extinguished any flicker of hope in the Northern Lights and by this time the Dens fans were ready to sing “we're gonna win the cup” and as a fanatical 16-year old I was a leading light in the standites chorus much to my father’s embarrassment - he is a bit more reserved, but I'm sure he believed it as well!
Dave, or Biffo, as he became to Dens diehards, due to his self-confessed robust approach to the game, has fond memories of his ten years at Dens especially that season, 'we then thrashed Rangers at Ibrox, again on a Sunday, 3-0 in front of 65,000 and hammered Hibs 3-0 after a 3-3 draw at Easter Road, only to play well below par in the semi against Celtic and lost 0-1'
Dave remembers that Dundee had to do it the hard way, 'all our ties were away from home and some people were saying we had deserved the cup after winning the first three rounds. It was especially disappointing to lose the semi as it would have been United in the final and I don't think a cup could have been won by a tougher route, Aberdeen, Rangers, Hibs, Celtic and Dundee United -all away in effect!
Dave recalls some of his most memorable opponents and rated two Celtic wingers as the ones who gave him the most bother, Jimmy Johnstone and after him, the late Johnny Doyle.
'Johnstone had his shimmy and Doyle had the pace, and both were tremendous players who always gave me a hard time.'
After leaving Dens, Dave became player/coach at Montrose for a short time and then went into the financial side of the oil industry. He then returned to football as Commercial Manager at Dens and did a great job before being lured back to the world of industry.
He has returned to football again and is here today as Commercial Manager of Aberdeen, his home town club - welcome back Biffo, although we hope to be putting out the Northern Lights again today!