Match Preview - Dundee Utd 18th Feb - IRNBRU Semi Final

Its IRNBRU Cup Semi Final time and we welcome Dundee United to Palmerston as both teams take a break from Championship football.

This game kicks off at 5-15pm and is live on BBC ALBA for those who cant make it along. 


The Cup So Far 

With this season's expansion of the IRNBRU Cup, both sides entered the competition at the 3rd round stage. 

While we were putting seven past Stenhousemuir at Palmerston, United were hosting Peterhead at Tannadice. They eventually edged past the part-timers, 3-2 with goals from Telfer, Van Der Velden and Andreu. 

On to the fourth round and we faced one of the new sides included in the competitions expansion, Belfast's Linfield FC. The Northern Irelanders brought a noisy support with them, but ultimately went out 2-0 after extra time, thanks to goals from Dykes and Dobbie. 

Dundee United made the long trip from the north east to the south west to take on, our local rivals, Stranraer. One goal from Tony Andreu was enough to see the Tangerines through. 

Both sides recorded the same scorelines in their respective quarter finals. Two goals from Stephen Dobbie, comfortably saw off Alloa, again at Palmerston while an early strike from, ex Queens player, Mark Durnan took United through at East End Park against Dunfermline. 


The Game 

This IRNBRU Cup Semi Final match kicks off at 5.15pm on Saturday 18th February at Palmerston.

Live updates will be available on the website and on Twitter and Facebook. We will also publish pictures through the day on our new Instagram Channel 


The Fans 

For home fans, the normal ticket procedure applies for the game and tickets will be available for all areas of the ground on match day from the usual ticket offices. Tickets can also be purchased in advance from the Midsteeple and, from Thursday onwards, the Club Shop. 

Season tickets are not valid for this match. 

As the match is expected to be busier than usual, and with season ticket holders requiring to purchase a ticket, fans are asked to turn up as early as possible to avoid queues and delays.

The Arena Ticket Office for home end tickets will be open from 1:30pm on Saturday whilst the two Offices in the Rosefield Salvage Stand (Home and Away) will open shortly after 4pm.

Full ticket details and pricing, for home and away fans, can be found here 

Away fans will be in the Rosefield Salvage Stand. Tickets are on sale from Tannadice until Friday night and then on the day at the ground from the usual ticket offices. 

Directions on how to get to Palmerston, including parking information, can be found here 

Never been to Palmerston before? Read our First Time Fan Guide 


The Manager 

It was great to get our first home win since September two weeks ago against a Morton side who came into the match on a good run of form. I felt that apart from a period of around 20 minutes at the start of the second half,  we were the dominant team throughout the game and our three - nil win was thoroughly deserved.

It was then disappointing not to have a game last weekend but we managed to stage a friendly against Alloa Athletic on the Friday evening to keep the players ticking over.  It also gave us the chance to try out a few things as we know that Joe Thomson, Scott Mercer and John Rankin are cup-tied having already taken part in the Irn Bru Cup with their previous clubs. They will all be missed but it gives other players the chance to show what they can do. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding a player coming into the team I want him to try and make it difficult for me to leave him out of the next game.

Dundee United are still very much in the automatic promotion mix this season and we know that it will be a really tough game for us although you wouldn't expect anything else when you get to the semi-final of a cup competition. If the game is anything as exciting as the one we played at Tannadice a month or so ago then the supporters are in for a treat.

I watched United lose last Saturday against Falkirk, they were well beaten on the day, but we know just how dangerous United can be so we will have to be aware of a backlash from that result as they'll see this cup tie as a game to get their season back on track.

The gap between ourselves and the play-offs is going to be very difficult to bridge but all our focus this week has been on this cup tie.  T>he opportunity to get yourself into the final of any tournament doesn’t come around that often and hopefully there will be a terrific atmosphere at Palmerston this weekend. Semi-finals are great occasions…but only memorable if you win them. 


The Team 

We are short on numbers this week with three players cup tied - Joe Thomson, John Rankin and Scott Mercer.  We also have some players carrying knocks so we will be giving them to the last minute.


The Officials 

Referee : Nick Walsh 
Assistant 1 : Jordan Stokoe 
Assistant 2 : Andy Milne 
Fourth Official : Steven McLean 

This will be the 5th game Mr Walsh takes charge for us. Our record in the previous four is one win, one draw and two defeats. All of those games have been in the Championship, apart from the win which came in the Betfred Cup earlier in the season in the 2-0 victory over Airdrie at Palmerston. 


The Semi Final History 

As Dundee United have spent most of their recent time in the top flight, this is only the second time they have taken part in the Challenge Cup competition.  

They reached the final in 1995 but lost on penalties to Stenhousemuir after the game, at McDiarmard Park, finished 0-0 after extra time. On the way to the final, the easily dispatched Dunfermline, 4-0, in the semi final at East End Park. 

For us, this is our sixth semi final in this competition, which started in 1990, as the B&Q Centenary Cup, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the SFL. 

Of those five semis, we've only failed to reach the final once, the very first appearance in 1991 when we lost 3-2 to Ayr at Somerset Park. Ayr then went on to lose the final, 1-0 to Hamilton, in front of nearly 10,000 fans at Fir Park. 

It was six years before we reached another semi-final in 1997. Again, we travelled to the west coast, this time to face Greenock Morton. Goals from Flannigan and Mallan were enough to take us to our first final. Like Ayr, though, we lost 1-0 to Falkirk in front of nearly 10,000 fans … at Fir Park! 

The next semi came just five years later, in 2002, this time a trip to Paisley to take on St Mirren. We took the lead three times, with goals from Paul Shields, Derek Lyle and Steven Bowey but were pegged back each time and with 10 minutes to go, the score stood at 3-3. Two late goals from Peter Weatherson and a second from, on loan Celtic striker, Shields were enough to clinch victory and another final appearance. 

It was a longer wait but a far less dramatic affair in 2010. Again, we were drawn away, but faced a rather longer trip to Peterhead. Two goals in three minutes, from Craig Reid and Derek Holmes, were enough to see off the Blue Toon, despite Martin Bavidge pulling a goal back with just over 10 minutes to go. 

It was a much shorter wait to see another semi final and the first at Palmerston in 2012. Arbroath were the visitors and we took an early lead through Derek Young after just 9 minutes. It’s a lead we held until almost the hour mark when Alex Keddie equalised for the Litchies. That took the game to extra time and it looked like it was going to penalties until Doonhamer, Ryan McGuffie, fired a shot high into the net with just 3 minutes to go.  

There are five players from that semi final squad who could be involved again on Saturday. Derek Lyle and Jim Atkinson are still at the club, while Lee Robinson and Danny Carmichael have left and rejoined. Mark Durnan started alongside McGuffie for us in 2012 but will likely be in the United side on Saturday. One player who missed out on the 2012 semi final, through suspension, but will be hoping to play on Saturday is Chris Higgins who is, of course, also still with the club.