Our historic first major trophy win came on December 12th 1979 with a 3-0 drubbing of Aberdeen in the League Cup Final Replay – Dundee United 3 (Pettigrew 2, Sturrock) Aberdeen 0
UNITED: McAlpine, Stark, Kopel, Fleming, Hegarty, Narey, Bannon, Sturrock, Pettigrew, Holt, Kirkwood Subs: Philip, Payne
Dens Park, Dundee, Referee Brian McGinlay (Balfron) Attendance 28,933
After a dull 0-0 draw on the Saturday the SFA for once saw sense and agreed to stage the replay at Dens Park. Under the floodlights this became a momentous night in our history as an inspired United trounced their New Firm rivals. 70 years after being founded as Dundee Hibernian, Dundee United, under manager Jim McLean had won their first major trophy .
We asked the two goal hero that day and Honorary Member of the DUSF Willie Pettigrew of his memories of that famous night 38 years ago……….
“The first game was one of the worst finals ever. I remember Jim McLean laid into me at full time for not tracking back after Stuart Kennedy, probably one of the first overlapping full backs. I argued with Jim “Do you want me to be an attacker or a defender!” I fell out with him which was not a wise thing to do, but thankfully he picked me for the replay. That game was the highlight of my career, my first winners medal. The reason I joined United was the quality of players they had and the team ethic, and what a team it was. Sturrock, Narey, Hegarty, Bannon, Payne, Kopel, Holt, Hamish, fantastic players, you could go through the whole team, all great characters. Even the less well known players played an important part. George Fleming for example did an important job and he was a great talker and motivator on the park. When Eamonn Bannon and I joined it seemed to complete the jigsaw It was a privilege to play with them all.
It was a terrible wet night at Dens and I remember my first goal. I actually missed the ball with my left foot but it stuck in the mud, landed at my right and I put it away. My second, a header, came from a great cross from Paul Sturrock and I stuck it past Bobby Clark. Paul was a great provider for me! Eamonn Bannon played a major role in that goal with a typical mazy run across the park. It was a great victory as Aberdeen were firing on all cylinders at that time. I remember Jim McLean talking to Directors Bill Littlejohn and Johnston Grant in the Boardroom after the match with them saying it was the best day of their lives as they never thought United would win a major trophy.
I didn’t celebrate too much after the game as my wife Audrey was pregnant with my son Craig and I wanted to get back to her, but I made up for it the following year when we retained the trophy and I have a picture of Craig in the League Cup! I still think of that when I see players drinking out the cup after they’ve won it!
The United fans were always great with me and I’m delighted to be involved with the Foundation and will do what I can to help. At Motherwell it was a slow start and it took a while to get going but it is thriving now, and I am sure the United Foundation will be the same. It is all about helping the club and I am sure it will get there.”