Six players who went straight from Tannadice to Dens Park

© SNSTommy Coyne in United colours.
Tommy Coyne in United colours.

When Craig Curran walked across Tannadice Street to sign for Dundee from Dundee United, he joined a small group of players who have gone straight from tangerine to dark blue. Courier Sport picks out six men who have crossed that great divide.

1 Beto Naveda

Naveda was an Argentinian striker who was snapped up by then Tangerines boss Alex Smith on a free from Israeli side Hapoel Jerusalem in November 2000. He had hitherto travelled widely, playing for Boca Juniors in his homeland, New England Revolution in the USA, and Maccabi Acre and FC Ashdod in Israel. At the end of season 2000-01, he left Tannadice, returned to Argentina as a free agent but then popped up back in Scotland after agreeing a three-month deal with Dundee. Naveda played 14 times for United and scored just two goals.

Beto Naveda playing for United.

2 Jim McInally

One of United’s greatest servants, McInally joined the Tangerines in May, 1986, from Coventry City in a joint £140,000 deal along with Dave Bowman. It would turn out to be a brilliant piece of business by legendary manager Jim McLean. McInally would go on to make no fewer than 395 appearances for United and earn 10 Scotland caps along the way. He was a star of the side that reached the Uefa Cup final a year after joining the club. McInally eventually left for Raith Rovers as a player-coach in 1995, returning for a second spell at United a year and half later to help Tommy McLean’s team finish third in the Premier League and qualify for Europe. It was the summer of 1997 that he moved across the road to Dens as a player-coach, helping the Dark Blues win promotion at the end of that season. His managerial career would start at Irish side Sligo Rovers in the summer of ‘99 and he is currently in charge at Peterhead.

Jim McInally playing for Dundee in the Scottish Cup against Rangers.

3 Roy McBain

McBain played only once for United against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park in the 1993-94 season before being released. He quickly joined the Dark Blues, where he spent two seasons and made just six appearances. He is currently playing at Cove Rangers. McBain picked up infamy for an alleged incident at Dens where he was reportedly punished for socialising with his old Tannadice team-mates by having to run naked around the Dens track.

4 Tommy Coyne

Arguably one of the best bits of transfer business ever done by Dundee, Coyne swapped city clubs midway through the 1986-87 season. Boss Jim McLean saw him as a valuable part of his squad but the likes of Iain Ferguson, Kevin Gallacher and Paul Sturrock proved difficult to budge from the team. He was signed by McLean for £65,000 from Clydebank in October 1983, just months after the greatest-ever United side had been crowned champions of Scotland. He would go on to make 77 appearances and score 14 goals. Notably, Coyne was a used substitute against Italian champions AS Roma in the European Cup semi-final first leg at Tannadice, coming on for Sturrock, and he scored the winning goal against French club RC Lens at the start of the Tangerines’ remarkable run to Uefa Cup final. He asked McLean for a transfer in November ‘86 and joined Dundee for £75,000. He went on to form the “Cobra and Mongoose” partnership with Keith Wright at Dens. In the 87-88 season Coyne was the Premier League’s top scorer with 33 goals and collected the Bronze Boot as the third-highest top-flight marksman in Europe. That form was obviously noticed and Coyne joined Celtic in March 1989 for £500,000. He also represented the Republic of Ireland on 22 occasions, including leading the line for Jack Charlton’s men in the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

Tommy Coyne in action for Dundee

5 Billy Williamson

The Dumfries-born midfielder joined United in February 1977 for a £15,000 fee – a considerable amount at that time – from Aberdeen. Williamson made just 11 appearances for the Tangerines, though, and joined Dundee six months later as part of the deal that took Bobby Robinson in the opposite direction.

6 Ian Scott

Striker Scott joined United from Musselburgh Athletic on May 1966. He was a hit both there and later at Dens. He made 75 appearances for Jerry Kerr’s side and scored 19 goals. He was released at the end of the 1970-71 season and joined the Dark Blues, once again netting 19 goals in 82 games when in competition with club greats like Jocky Scott, Gordon Wallace and John Duncan. Scott was an unused sub for Dundee at Hampden in their 1973 League Cup final victory over Celtic.