The A to Z of the Dundee derby

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Sunday will see the 177th Dundee derby when United play host to the Dee at Tannadice.

It’s now 91 years since the city rivals first met on a competitive stage and the clashes have thrown up some interesting facts.

Now, the Tele marks this latest chapter in derby history by coming up with our A to Z of the fixture.

A — All in — There have been 176 competitive derbies, United have won 81, Dundee 53 and 42 have finished draws.

B — Billy Thomson — outstanding performance in the 1987 Scottish Cup semi at Tynecastle ensured United reached the final at the expense of their rivals.

C — Claudio Caniggia — The Argentine superstar was loved by Dee fans during his short spell there and the “Little Bird” produced the goods with a couple of derby goals.

D — Davie Dodds — The local boy got the opener to send the Tangerines on their way to victory in the 1980 League Cup Final, the only time the pair met at that stage of a major competition.

Davie Dodds in 1978
Davie Dodds in 1978

E — Eric Sinclair — Sent off following an infamous clash with Paul Hegarty at Tannadice in a January 1980 derby that finished with a 5-1 victory for the Tangerines.

F — First — The first competitive meeting of Dundee and Dundee United came on November 21, 1925, in front of 18,000 at Dens Park. It was goalless and the first derby goal was scored by the Dee’s Davie McLean later that season.

G — Gillie — Dundee’s greatest-ever centre-forward Alan Gilzean scored his share of derby goals, including a double in 1962 that left his team just two games away from the league title.

H — Hamish McAlpine — One of the great goalies to have graced this fixture. Bill Brown, Donald Mackay, Thomson Allan and Billy Thomson are just a few also on the list.

I — Ian Redford — The attacker, who sadly passed away in 2014, was one of a select band to have played for both teams in derbies. Others include Kenny Cameron, Billy Kirkwood and Neil Duffy and, of course, Paul Dixon who should be involved on Sunday.

J — Jocky Scott — The Dens legend marked his derby debut with two goals in a League Cup tie in 1964 and, as well as playing, would coach and manage Dundee in the fixture.

A very young-looking Jocky Scott
A very young-looking<br />Jocky Scott

K — Kirkie — United legend Billy Kirkwood is another to have represented both clubs. He played for each, was a Dee coach and United manager, chalking up three wins last time the sides were in the lower divisions together.

L — Luggy — Dark Blues’ tormentor-in-chief is Paul Sturrock, with 14 derby goals. He regularly ripped Dundee apart, scored twice in that 1980 League Cup Final and even his last United goal came in a 1989 derby.

M — McLean — Jim McLean led United to many derby successes but undoubtedly the two most famous came at Dens when the Tangerines clinched the league title and that League Cup triumph. As a player, he wore the dark blue.

N — Nemsadze — Georgian genius Georgi Nemsadze left United keeper Alan Combe flapping at fresh air as his delightful lobbed goal at Tannadice in 2000 helped the Dark Blues to a 2-0 win.

Georgi Nemsadze knocks the ball past Billy Dodds during a derby game in 2003.
Georgi Nemsadze knocks the ball past Billy Dodds during a derby game in 2003.

O — Örjan Persson — The Swede was one of the Viking invaders who proved so popular at United in the 1960s. The fans’ liking for him increased when he scored a double in a 4-2 win at Dens Park in March 1965.

P – Penalties — United’s last was in the final game of last term and was converted by Nadir Ciftci. For last spot-kick Dundee scored you have to go back to one netted by Steve Lovell in 2005.

Q — Quite interesting — Many players have played for both clubs but only 14 first-team men have moved directly across Tannadice Street.

R — Ralphie — Probably the most significant derby goal ever came at Dens on May 14, 1983, when Ralph Milne’s audacious chip over keeper Colin Kelly put United on course to victory and the league title.

ralphie snip

S — Schenk — The goalkeeper’s one appearance in senior football to date was for Dundee in last year’s New Year derby. Dundee fans should skip to “T” now, Arabs won’t mind being reminded the German let in six.

T — Tommy Coyne — ‘The Cobra’ swapped United for Dundee and came back to haunt his old side, notably when he netted in the 2-1 League Cup quarter-final success in September 1987.

U — Underdogs — For the first 50 years of this fixture that title usually belonged to United. For the last four decades, things, for the most part, have flipped. You can decide who’s who on Sunday.

V — Valentine — Dundonian referee Bob Valentine took charge of the 1980 derby League Cup Final, which was played at Dens Park.

W — Walk — This must surely be the only major derby anywhere where the away team usually walks to their opponent’s ground. Distance is a factor, but so, too, is fan behaviour and that’s something the city can be proud of.

X — X-rated — The final derby of last season was won comfortably by United. However, the victory was overshadowed by Nadir Ciftci, who inexplicably sunk his teeth into Dee midfielder Jim McAlister’s leg.

Nadir Ciftci sparked 'bitegate' in the last game of the 2014/15 season
Nadir Ciftci sparked ‘bitegate’ in the last game of the 2014/15 season

Y — You — It’s the fans who make this derby unique. The rivalry is intense but mostly civilised. Opposing fans can meet for a pint before and after, and trouble outside the ground is extremely rare.

Z — Zwick — Young United keeper Luis Zwick failed to hold a Gary Harkins effort deep into stoppage time and James McPake pounced to cap a Dundee fightback as the game finished 2-2 on the opening derby this season at Tannadice.

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