Dundee United’s final friendly of the summer comes on Saturday when preparations for the build-up to the Championship season are completed with a 350-mile trip south to face Shrewsbury Town.
The game will be a valuable exercise for boss Robbie Neilson as he makes sure his players have had enough game time to be ready for the opener against Inverness on Saturday week.
In terms of prestige, there’s no denying the English League One opposition fall into the “modest” category.
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There was a time, though, when the Tangerines were in the habit of hosting top opposition at this time of year.
It led to some great occasions – and great victories – at Tannadice. Today the Tele looks back at some of those memorable days.
DUNDEE UTD 4 SPURS 1
Tuesday, August 5, 1980
A Spurs side that boasted the likes of Argentine World Cup winners Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa, England’s Glenn Hoddle and the new strike partnership of Steve Archibald and Garth Crooks, were blown away by a United side that would reach the peak of its powers over the next few seasons.
The Londoners started well and led through a Crooks goal as early as the 12th minute but, by the break, Billy Kirwood had levelled.
After the interval, Jim McLean’s men stepped up a gear and goals from Graeme Payne, Derek Addison and Paul Sturrock gave them a handsome victory over a team that, within a year, would win a classic FA Cup Final against Manchester City.
DUNDEE UTD 3 ASTON VILLA 0
Sunday, August 5, 1979
A year before that superb display against Spurs, United entertained Aston Villa, with striker Paul Sturrock once again to the fore.
With United dominating from start to finish, “Luggy” bagged a hat-trick to send Ron Saunders’ outfit heading back south with their tails between their legs.
If not too much was made about the victory, it was a sign the Tangerines were on the verge of big things and, within months, McLean’s team would secure the club’s first major honour in the shape of the League Cup.
It’s also worth remembering, in just two years, Villa would be champions of England and, a year later, more than half the team that ran out at Tannadice would start their winning European Cup Final against Bayern Munich.
DUNDEE UTD 2 EVERTON 1
Tuesday, July 25, 2000
This game was a testimonial for long-serving Maurice Malpas, with his influential former coach Walter Smith bringing Everton to mark the occasion.
If the English Premier League giants were already a sizeable draw, their signing of Paul Gascoigne, who would make his debut, brought extra attention that saw news as well as football media heading for Tannadice, although tragic events in Paris as a Concorde crashed, meant, ultimately, actual coverage of it was limited.
As was often the case with Gazza, trouble was not far away. He had a first-half flare-up with Joachim Fernandez that saw the home trialist take such exception that boss Paul Sturrock took him off before he was sent off.
Malpas’ big night was marked with a win, David Weir giving the visitors the lead before two goals in three second-half minutes from Steven Thompson and Alex Mathie turned things round.
DUNDEE UNITED 1 BARCELONA 5
Saturday, July 26, 2008
For the second year running, the Catalan giants had used United’s St Andrews University training base for the first week of their pre-season build-up and that meant fans were treated to a second summer friendly in a row against them at Tannadice.
A year earlier, minus Lionel Messi because he was still on holiday, Ronaldinho and Thierry Henry were the stars as a last-gasp goal by the French great gave them victory.
With Messi starting, the 2008 friendly saw the Spaniards really turn up as they blasted five past the Tangerines (see video below).
For once, though, such a reversal was surely acceptable, such was the quality of the opposition and just the sight of one of the world’s greatest players in action meant everyone went home happy.