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Dundee United

Dundee United’s Scottish Cup heroes of 1994 in their own words: Horse racing, ‘booting McCoist’ and who lost the trophy?

The tale of one of United's finest hours, told by those who made it happen.
Alan Temple
The Scottish Cup winning Dundee United squad in 1994
The winning Dundee United squad in 1994. Image: DC Thomson

Thirty years ago today, it was seventh time lucky for Dundee United.

The replay loss against Rangers, a couple of reverses against Celtic and the miserable 1-0 defeat to St Mirren that was sandwiched between UEFA Cup final heartbreak versus IFK Gothenburg.

The cruel madness of that iconic 4-3 defeat against Motherwell; Jim McLean vs Tommy McLean in perhaps the finest final in the old competition’s storied history.

All those ghosts were exorcised on an unforgettable afternoon at Hampden as Ivan Golac’s mix of grizzled veterans and boisterous bairns downed Goliath. The Rangers team they said couldn’t be beaten were felled. A double treble denied.

Craig Brewster, a die-hard Arab who had attended five of those previous defeats, was fittingly the man who poked home the winning goal.

However, every member of that squad and backroom staff have gone down in United folklore.

Dundee United assistant coach Gordon Wallace (left), and Ivan Golac celebrate with the Scottish Cup
Dundee United assistant coach Gordon Wallace (left), and Ivan Golac celebrate with the trophy. Image: SNS

Here is the story of that triumph, as told to Courier Sport by stalwarts Maurice Malpas and Jim McInally, goalkeeper Guido van de Kamp, the tireless Christian Dailly, Brewster and embedded journalist Jim Spence.

Words from Golac are courtesy of an interview with The Courier’s Graeme Strachan last year.

How “relaxed” build-up and the Ivan Golac factor inspired victory

Brewster: “Ivan (Golac) brought an air of belief and calmness.

“There was a relaxed atmosphere. Some of the boys went to the races at Hamilton on the Friday. I was knocking golf balls on a driving range at East Kilbride.

“We were having a good time, and the feeling was: let’s just go out and do what we are good at. No pressure. It was a carnival atmosphere. No-one was worried.

“Rangers weren’t letting their players speak to the press, whereas we had the BBC cameras up at the hotel the night before the game!”

Former Dundee United manager Ivan Golac with the Scottish Cup
Ivan Golac, pictured in 2005, was pivotal in setting the tone. Image: David Martin / Fotopress

Spence: “The BBC asked for reporters at the hotels, and to be on the Rangers and Dundee United buses. Rangers absolutely batted that away, “not a chance!” They wanted nothing to do with it.

“Ivan thought it was a fabulous idea. He was Mr. Showman.

“It was incredibly laid back at the hotel. Not like previous finals I had covered under Wee Jim (McLean) when you could feel the tension. On the bus, it’s all laughing, joking and Badger (Billy McKinlay) leading all that.

“I remember we passed a bookies on the way to Hampden – now I’m not a big betting man – and I thought, “I wonder if the driver would stop and let me put a line on!” That’s how sure I was that United would win.”

Van de Kamp: “There were guys like David Bowman and Maurice Malpas who had been in finals before and they told me: “In those games, we wouldn’t know who was playing an hour before kick-off.”

“Jim McLean would change the team all the time.

“But Ivan Golac told the players the starting line-up well before the game. He knew what he wanted us to do, and it was no problem. We felt that. I think this build-up is a big reason we won the cup.”

Dundee United icon Maurice Malpas, right, and coach Gordon Wallace
Malpas, right, and coach Gordon Wallace. Image: SNS

Malpas: “We were sitting watching the TV with Ivan, and one of the Rangers players was being interviewed and Ivan says, “he’s shaking in his boots!”

“The older boys – me, Jimmy Mac (McInally), Bow (Dave Bowman) – were looking at him as if to say: that’s some statement.

“But Ivan didn’t care. He had beaten Rangers at Ibrox (3-0, 11/12/93) earlier in the season and knew he was going to do it again.”

McInally: “Ivan had tormented Rangers. Before we beat them at Ibrox, he had done an interview and said Rangers were over the hill. I was later told Wattie (Walter Smith) would get right wound up by his antics.

“He (Smith) was apparently giving it, “whit’s that Golac saying now?” It went right up on the dressing room wall. Then we were 3-0 up in 21 minutes. Ivan was good at the psychological stuff.”

Jim McInally celebrates Dundee United's historic triumph
Jim McInally celebrates United’s historic triumph. Image: DC Thomson

Golac: “They were better at the races taking their mind off the final, instead of sitting locked in their hotel rooms worrying about how the game might unfold. In my opinion, mental preparation is the most important aspect.”

The action begins…

Malpas: “Ivan’s team-talks were never long and never complicated, that’s for sure. He did reiterate: “Listen boys, that lot are under pressure – so let’s put them under pressure.”

“He made sure we all knew our jobs, but it wasn’t loads of tactical stuff; if you lose the ball, get back down the park and get it back. If you’ve got the ball, get forward and have shots on goal.”

McInally: “We were in the tunnel waiting to come out and, for whatever reason, Ivan was at the back of the line. So, we shouted him and told him he needed to lead us out.

“It might have been deliberate, because he then squeezes his way to the front of the line and, in the old tight Hampden tunnel, he’s bumping into all the Rangers players.

“I could hear the Rangers boys going, “Oi, f*** off, you!””

Dundee United players appeal for a penalty after Alec Cleland is bundled over against Rangers in 1994
United players appeal for a penalty after Cleland is bundled over. Image: SNS

Malpas: “We felt okay in the game. There weren’t any defenders getting an absolute doing from their opposite number.

“I was playing against (Ally) McCoist and there’s a bit of banter because Coisty is a funny boy, but there was no banter from me – I was just telling him, “If you try that again, I’ll boot you!””

McInally: “In the first half, especially, I thought we were better than Rangers and certainly should have had a penalty when Alex Cleland was blatantly pushed in the back.”

47 mins: Craig Brewster opens the scoring with a tap-in after Christian Dailly closes down Gers keeper Ally Maxwell

Dailly: “The memory is so vivid to me.

“I can still remember making the decision to close down Ally Maxwell, and that vision of my shot trickling across the goal line and bouncing off the post.

Time stands still for Christian Dailly
Time stands still for Christian Dailly, No.11. Image: SNS

“I had a moment of panic, thinking it wasn’t going to go it. Then, seeing Brewster come in and all the fans in the corner going mad was amazing.

“I don’t generally watch many games back, but I’ve made an exception for that one.”

Brewster: “Dundee United had been to six cup finals and never won. I had been to five of them. Then, suddenly, you are presented with that moment. That chance to score the winning goal. Unbelievable.”

Brewster wheels away after tapping home the winner
Brewster wheels away after tapping home the winner. Image: SNS

Malpas: “I swear time went backwards. It seemed to take an eternity from the moment Maxy (Ally Maxwell) skelped it off Christian (Dailly). From where I was, it looked like it was away wide.

“Then, I thought Craig (Brewster) had missed it because the net didn’t bulge; he just had a tap at it.”

Spence: “When the goal goes in – created by a combination of two Dundee boys – I just wanted to leap in the air. But as I’m about to jump, I just think, “you’re a BBC reporter, you can’t jump about celebrating!”

“That was an internal fight. I was almost in tears.”

The celebrations commence at Hampden after Dundee United win the 1994 Scottish Cup
The celebrations commence at Hampden. Image: SNS

McInally: “I was worried we’d scored too early.”

55 mins: Guido van de Kamp makes a stunning point-blank save to deny Alexei Mikhailichenko following a Stuart McCall cut-back

Malpas: “I’m thinking, “That’s a goal, here” and we’re back to 1-1. It’s a top save from Guido. In previous finals, that probably goes into the corner of the net. We were due a bit of luck.”

McInally: “That was an unbelievable save and it just seemed like everything was sticking to him. Even away from that stop, he was coming off his line for everything and taking the pressure off.

“Late on, they had (Mark) Hateley, Duncan Ferguson, big (Dave) McPherson, and Guido was helping us out. That was so important.”

Guido van de Kamp celebrates
Guido van de Kamp celebrates. Image: DC Thomson

Van de Kamp: “Of course it is a highlight for me to make a save like that – but it is my job.”

The full-time whistle blows – history is made – and the aftermath

Malpas: “I didn’t know what to do with myself. You have a cuddle with your teammates and then I got my boy onto the pitch after we were presented with the trophy.

“It was joy and relief rolled into one.”

McInally: “There has been so much heartache in the previous finals I’d been involved in. You did feel a little bit like you were cursed; that it would never happen.

“So, when that final whistle went, it was incredible and – personally – to beat Rangers was even better.”

Craig Brewster (left), Dave Bowman, David Hannah and Jim McInally soak up the festivities
Craig Brewster (left), Dave Bowman, David Hannah and Jim McInally soak up the festivities. Image: SNS

Spence: “The moment the full-time whistle went, I just bolted on to the pitch. I think the first person I saw was Jimmy McInally and he grabbed me and, as I recall, gave me a kiss on the cheek. I said, “right, Jimmy, nae tongues!””

“It was pandemonium and, when I got a hold of Golac – who was a big Rolling Stones fan – says down the microphone, “I’d like to say, for you Walter, It’s All Over Now”.

Malpas: “Then it was a few drinky-poos in the dressing room, and there was a chap on the door. It was Wattie and Coisty. They came up to say congratulations.

“That was a massive thing for me, that they showed that respect.”

McInally: “There as loads of champagne in the dressing room but, after a few swigs, I decided: nah, I’m not going to drink. I wanted to enjoy it and savour every moment.

“I appreciated it more than I would have if I’d won an earlier final.”

Dundee United Scottish Cup winners of 1994, left to right, Craig Brewster, Ivan Golac, Gordon Petric
Brewster, left, Ivan Golac, centre and Gordan Petric with the prize. Image: SNS

Malpas: “We thought we’d lost the trophy at the Tangerine Club later that night. I thought Bow had it; Bow thought Jimmy had it. It disappeared for about an hour and we are all s******* ourselves.

“I had been warned: don’t do this and don’t do that. Then we lose it, and it’s getting bounced about the function room like a beach ball. It was heart attack stuff.”

McInally: “I’m not sure it was the Tangerine Club. I think we lost it at the Marquee pub.

“And I remember that because somebody fell down the stairs and it was bad enough that they had to call the ambulance – but he wouldn’t go without getting his hands on the cup.

“Then, during all that drama, the Scottish Cup got mislaid!”

Former Dundee United youngster Andy McLaren celebrates.
What it meant to a youthful Andy McLaren. Image: SNS

Malpas: “I wanted to take the trophy home but apparently it wasn’t insured to go to some idiot’s house…”

Post-match celebrations as tens of thousands of Arabs spill onto Dundee streets for open-top parade and city square presentation

Spence: “I presented the trophy to Jim (McLean) and Ivan (Golac) on the City Chamber balcony, and it was an emotional day. There were 20,000 folks down there – among them, my mother and auntie Francis!

“Laurie (his son) was only one at the time, and my wife was down there too. As a Dundonian, it was something incredibly special.”

The Dundee United bus passes celebrating fans after winning the 1994 Scottish Cup
The United bus passes celebrating fans. Image: DC Thomson.

Van de Kamp: “I didn’t realise just HOW big the achievement was until afterwards.

“The tour through the city after the final was breathtaking, seeing all the fans in the main square. It was unbelievable to me. The greatest moment of my career, for sure.”

McInally: “Those scenes in the City Square were honestly something I dreamed about. To see that number of people, and what it meant to everyone, was amazing.

“The players and supporters were all in it together. We had lost those other finals together, and we could celebrate this one together.”

Jim McLean, right, and Ivan Golac in front of a sea of Tangerine
Jim McLean, right, and Ivan Golac in front of a sea of Tangerine. Image: DC Thomson

Malpas: “Dundee United supporters are famed for their support. After being to umpteen finals, you’d hear the odd punter say, “I’ll not be back again”. But they always came back.

“They were always there to support us, and that day was for them.”

Golac: “Winning the Scottish Cup at Hampden and parading the trophy the following day amongst the fans in the City Square would rank as the highlight of my career.

“I brought them happiness and it was simply unforgettable.”