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The Club » Dundee United A - Z ( L )

Dundee United A - Z ( L )

This tournament was instituted in 1990 as the B&Q Centenary Cup, to mark the first 100 years of the Scottish League. When B&Q’s sponsorship had run its course in 1995, its name was changed to the League Challenge Cup. It proved impossible to attract a new sponsor, but the popularity of the competition with clubs and supporters led the League itself to underwrite the tournament costs and guarantee prize money, thus enabling it to continue.
Entry has always been restricted to League clubs outside the Premier Division. As a consequence, United have participated on only one occasion, 1995/96. They beat Stranraer 2–0, Clydebank 1–0 and Dunfermline Athletic 4–0, all away from home, to reach the final. It was played at McDiarmid Park, Perth on Sunday, 7 November, and United’s opponents were Second Division Stenhousemuir. The scoresheet remained blank after 120 minutes, following which there was a penalty shoot-out, won 5–4 by Stenhousemuir.
The suggestion of a cup competition different in nature from the Scottish Cup was first made in the late 1930s and during the Second World War it was instituted as the Southern League Cup. Its distinguishing feature was that clubs were drawn in sections of four, playing each other on a home-and-away basis, with the winners progressing to quarter- and semi-finals played on the customary knock-out basis.
That format proved popular, with the result that it was retained after the war, being renamed the Scottish League Cup in 1946/47. Played at the beginning of the season, with the final in October, it was kept apart from the Scottish Cup. Over the years the format has changed on several occasions, and in 1984 the concept of sudden death was introduced, with no replays. This breathed new life into what had been an ailing competition.
The League Cup was the first of the three major competitions to attract sponsorship. It became known as the Bell’s League Cup in 1979, the Skol Cup in 1984, the Coca-Cola Cup in 1994 and is now known as the CIS Cup.
For many years, United failed to make any impression on the tournament and established a dreadful record. The club’s performance did, however, change dramatically after reaching their first final in 1979. United took the trophy by beating Aberdeen 3–0 in the replay at Dens Park, having drawn 0–0 at Hampden Park. The following year the trophy was retained, again at Dens Park and again by a winning margin of 3–0. This time Dundee were the victims in the most famous city derby of all.
In 1981 United made it three finals in a row, which was, and remains, the only occasion that this has been achieved in the competition by a club other than Celtic or Rangers. It was Rangers who were their opponents at Hampden Park, but although United took the lead, the Glasgow club scored twice in the latter stages.
United reached the semi-final the following two years and in 1984 made another final appearance. It was the first time the competition had been played on a Sunday and the first time it had been shown live on television. As in 1981, Rangers were their opponents at Hampden Park and, as in 1981, the Ibrox club took the trophy by the narrowest of margins, on this occasion 1–0.
Thereafter, the club’s brief flirtation with the League Cup went into decline. They did reach the semi-final stage in 1985 and 1986 (to complete eight in a row), but since then further semi-finals in 1988, 1990, 1993 and 2000, together with the final in 1997, have proved the summit of the club’s achievements.
These are the players who won League Cup winners’ medals with Dundee United:

1979: McAlpine, Stark, Kopel, Phillip, Hegarty, Narey, Bannon, Sturrock, Pettigrew, Holt, Payne. Substitutes – Fleming, Murray.

1980: McAlpine, Holt, Kopel, Phillip, Hegarty, Narey, Bannon, Payne, Pettigrew, Sturrock, Dodds. Substitutes – Kirkwood, Stark.
Willie LINN ( 1890 - 1959)
Few of the players who helped Dundee Hibs become established as a League club stayed sufficiently long at Tannadice to write themselves into the club’s history. In those days there was a high turnover of the playing staff, but one of the exceptions was Willie Linn.
Born in Dundee of Irish parents, Linn was small and fast, a natural winger. He preferred to play on the left side and he was an effective player who scored a few goals, but supplied many more to his team-mates. He was a member of the Qualifying Cup final team of 1913 and might well have been lost to the Hibs, as were most of his colleagues, on the outbreak of the First World War. He joined the forces, but was fortunate not to be posted overseas, as a result of which he was able to return to Tannadice once the conflict had ended.
He continued to give sterling service to the Hibs and became the first player to make more than 100 Scottish League appearances for the club. This was recognised when he became the first player to be given a testimonial by the club in 1922.
Jimmy LITTLEJOHN ( 1910 - 1989)
He shares the distinction with Jimmy Brownlie of having been player, manager and director with Dundee United.
A Glaswegian, Littlejohn was a centre half of some distinction, principally serving St Johnstone during the mid-1930s, when they were an established Division One club. After a spell with Cowdenbeath, he arrived at Tannadice in 1939 following the outbreak of war and was a stalwart in the team which reached the final of the Emergency War Cup in 1940. Indeed, due to an injury to captain Jerry Kerr, it was Littlejohn who led United against Rangers at Hampden and, by all accounts, he was man of the match and very unfortunate not to lift the trophy.
That was the only season he played for the club, but he had made a good impression and was invited back as manager in 1944. His was a brief tenure of the manager’s office (August to November), following which he accepted the offer of a directorship at Tannadice. He was the director charged with the responsibility of assessing the viability of Nottingham Forest’s football pools scheme and, on his return from viewing the English club’s set-up at first hand, he recommended the establishment of a similar venture by Dundee United. As the first club in Scotland to do so, they were ahead of the field and Taypools, as it was known, proved to be a huge success.
Jimmy Littlejohn continued to play an important supportive role as a director as United moved onwards and upwards following promotion and he continued to serve the club until his death in 1989.
Livingston changed its name from Meadowbank Thistle in 1995 and moved to the newly built Almondvale Stadium. As Meadowbank Thistle, United’s 3–1 win in a Scottish Cup third-round tie at Tannadice in 1992 was the only occasion on which the clubs met.
Livingston won promotion to the Scottish Premier League in 2001 and first met United in a league match at Almondvale in September that year. The West Lothian club won 2-0 and United had to wait until their seventh meeting, in May 2003, to record their first SPL victory.
The playing record against Livingston (before and since their name change) is:
Scottish League (all SPL):
P 7
W 1
D 1
L 5
F 5
A 11
Scottish Cup:
P 1
W 1
    F 3
A 1
League Cup:
(The clubs were drawn together in 2002 and 2003.)
P 2
W 1
D 0
L 1
F 2
A 1



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