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The Dark Blues
  • Scottish Cup Semi Final 2003: Dundee 1-0 Inverness

    The first 'programmes from the past' this year looks back to when Dundee took part in their first scottish cup semi final since 1987, when they took on inverness caledonian thistle at hampden park on the 20th april 2003.

    Dundee’s road to what would ultimately end in the team reaching the final started off with a 2-0 victory away page 1.jpgto Partick Thistle. Georgi Nemsadze and Gavin Rae gave the Dee a deserved passage into the next round.

    Next up was a visit from struggling Aberdeen and goals from Steve Lovell and Nacho Novo once again ensured a safe route into the next round of the cup and our first back to back victories at home against the Granite City club since 1964. Falkirk would then be the opposition that stood between Dundee and a long overdue visit to the national stadium and they would push The Dee all the way.

    In what would be the last ever cup tie at Brockville, the match would end one a piece with Nacho Novo grabbing our equaliser to see this tie going the extra mile with a replay at Dens.

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    A massive Dundee support of just under 10,000 fans turned out but Falkirk drew thirst blood by taking an early lead. Fabian Caballero would draw the teams level and yet again after ninety-minutes, the game was level with a goal apiece. Dundee flexed their muscle and in Extra-Time, Mark Burchill and a Steve Lovell double killed off the tie and sent the huge Dens Park crowd happy into the night.

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    The scene was now set, Dundee would take on Inverness Caley Thistle who had seen off Raith Rovers, Hamilton and Celtic on route to Hampden.

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    The tie was originally pencilled in to be played on a Monday night but both clubs protested to the SFA to bring the tie forward a day to the Sunday which was agreed.

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    Of the 14,429 supporters there that day, around 10,000 of them were Dundee fans who hadn’t seen the Dee play in this venue since the 1995 League Cup Final.

    Dundee were understandably the strong favourites for this tie but Caley were the ones who threatened first through a Bobby Mann header and a Paul Ritchie whose shot went just passed the post. Then Julian Speroni pushed a long-range drive from Dennis Wyness on to the post. The Dark Blues would eventually find their feet and just before the half hour mark, nearly took the lead when Steve Lovells shot caught the legs of Mark Brown and went agonisingly past the post.

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    In the second half, Dundee would have a marvellous chance to take the lead after Caballero broke the offside trap but his lobbed shot over the Caley keeper floated over the bar. It wouldn’t be long until Dundee would take the lead.

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    Caballero waltzed past two defenders before teeing up Nemsadze on the edge of the box and despite scuffing his shot, it made its way in off the post to the keepers left hand side. The fans erupted into jubilant celebrations and when they finally died down, a sense of relief seemed to be in the air.

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    Dundee had another opportunity to seal the win Zura Khizanishvili created and ran from his own half with the ball but his attempt whistled over the bar.

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    It would not matter as the final whistle went and Dundee would participate in their first Scottish Cup Final since 1964 and against the same team from that year, Rangers. As the fans celebrated in the stand at Hamden, it soon dawned on may that the club would also be making a welcome return to a major European competition for the first time since 1974.

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    One player who wouldn’t make the final would be towering defender Lee Wilkie whose booking meant he would have to sit in the stands for the game.

    “I remember it clearly to this day and I didn’t make a movement towards him and, even if the referee was giving a foul, it should never have been a booking.

    “Knowing that was me out of the final was hard to deal with and there was still a game to be won and I had to concentrate on that.”

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    A jubilant Jim Duffy was quick to praise his players on reaching the final.

    “Dundee have had phenomenal sides since 1964 but for one reason or another, they never got to the Scottish Cup Final.

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    “Now we are there and that speaks volumes for my players. Today they had to show a really determined mentality and dig out the result. We have had plaudits for playing good football this season, and deservedly so -today we deserve plaudits for perseverance.”

    "Inverness closed us down and deserve credit," said Duffy. "Georgi didn't play well today, but the fans will always thank him for that goal."

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    The teams that day were:
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    Dundee (4-3-3): Speroni; Mackay, Wilkie, Khizanishvili, Hernandez; Rae, Nemsadze, Brady; Milne (Novo, 62), Lovell (Mair, 88), Caballero. Substitutes not used: Langfield (gk), Beith, Robb.

    Inverness Caledonian Thistle (4-4-2): Brown; Tokely, McCaffrey (Christie, 83), Mann, Golabek; Hart, Duncan (Bagan, 83), McBain, Robson; Wyness, Ritchie. Substitutes not used: Fraser (gk), Stewart, Keogh.

     

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