Once in the hot seat at Dens, ‘Cowboy’ made ‘Wee Georgie’ his number one signing target, spending a full afternoon convincing the player that his future still lay in Dundee and resulting in the frontman re-signing until the end of the season. Shaw however, clearly had an axe to grind as The Courier headline revealed ‘Shaw Pays Big Tribute To McCormack’. With the ‘new’ signing explaining further… “If I’d been given the same offer by Jim Duffy back at the start of the season I wouldn’t have been looking for a move in the first place.” Going on to have another swipe at his ex-boss by adding “…And from where I am standing it seems there’s one rule for managers and one for players, because while I was unable to join another Scottish team because no-one could agree a fee with Dundee, Jim Duffy was able to take himself off to Hibs no problem.”
The sale of Jim Hamilton to Hearts for £200,000 highlighted the two other major issues Dundee faced at the time. Namely a budget that barely seemed able to cover the heating bill, never mind a promotion push and the complete disinterest of the club’s latest white knight turned villain, Canadian ‘business man’ and club owner Ron Dixon.
With book one having gone walkabout, our first travel back in time begins in the second tome, which picks up our story on Tuesday 17th September 1996 as Billy Thomson and Barry Smith could be found posing in The Courier with a mop and bucket just below the Dens Park Main Stand. According to the press, the goalkeeper and defender were hoping to ‘mop up’ Aberdeen in the quarter final of the Coca Cola Cup the next night, having seen off our neighbours in a penalty shoot-out in the previous round (which must feature in the lost book!). With the Evening Telegraph exclaiming The Dons to be ‘red hot’, it was clear that the opposition, who had easily beaten Dundee in the previous year’s final, were strong favourites once again.
Thomson and Smith may have been trotted out to the media pre-match but it was Paul Tosh who hit the headlines with a stunning cushioned header and volleyed finish, which would still be orbiting the planet now had it not struck the back of Nicky Walker’s net. The deadlock broken, the game ebbed and flowed, before the Dee’s Kevin Bain sent a searing volley against the Aberdeen crossbar, but as is so often the case for Dundee, punishment for that miss wasn’t far away. With the cleaning ladies in defence proving they couldn’t even deal with the merest hint of spilt milk, Smith and Thomson made a hash of a weak cross into the Dundee box; a case of ‘after you’ finding the keeper brushing against ex-Dundee striker Billy Dodds, who dutifully added a triple Salchow to his unabashed clatter to the floor. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the play actor then rubbed salt in the Dundee wounds by tucking the resultant spot kick into the bottom right corner of Thomson’s goal.
Not long after burly ex-Hull man Dean Windass received a yellow card for Aberdeen for bundling into Dundee midfield maestro Chic Charnley, already booked alongside the home team’s Robbie Raeside in a melee after the penalty award,