3 - 1
3 - 1
League (Division One)
Joe Gilroy (13)
Billy Campbell (23)
Alex Kinninmonth (pen.) (68)
|Tommy Traynor (37)
1. Ally Donaldson
2. Bobby Wilson
3. Doug Houston
4. Steve Murray
5. Jim Easton
6. George Stewart
7. Billy Campbell
8. George McLean
9. Joe Gilroy
10. Alex Kinninmonth
11. Jocky Scott
12. Alex Stuart
One of the laments heard around Scottish football grounds these days is that there aren't as many characters in the game as there used to be. These men were individuals, in the true sense of the word, and often masters of the unexpected.
They were unstifled by the modern emphasis on coaching and had the ability to entertain and amuse the fans. In fact such comments seem so frequent these days that it has almost become a footballing cliché. However, like many such sayings it has a basis of truth.
One character from not too long ago who earned his wages at Dens Park for a time was George 'Dandy' McLean.
Today we turn the spotlight on a Dundee - Hearts game which in many ways summed up George McLean's career.
It was the afternoon of Saturday, October 26, 1968 and the teams met in a league fixture. The middle to late sixties were proving to be a time of disappointments for the vast Hearts legions who had been brought up on a diet of regular trophy wins in the 50s and the early part of the 1960s.
Yet they were still a team to be reckoned with and were often still there or thereabouts. For instance claiming the runners-up spot in the 1965 championship and 1968 Scottish Cup.
Dundee, too, were finding it difficult to replace their own fine side of the early part of the decade. This was witnessed by the fact that they had only three weeks previous to the Hearts encounter changed their manager again. John Prentice took over the reins from Bobby Ancell and the new boss had not taken long to assess his playing staff, and decided a new forward was a priority. This had prompted him to sign Joe Gilroy from Fulham ten days before the Hearts match for the then princely sum of £15,000,
Gilroy had scored in his debut at Arbroath but this was his first home game and the other players lined up as follows.
DUNDEE: Donaldson, R. Wilson, Houston, Murray, Easton, G. Stewart, Campbell, G. McLean, Gilroy, Kinnonmonth, Scott. Sub: A. Stuart.
HEARTS: Cruickshank, Holt, Mann, McDonald, E. Thomson, G. Fleming, Jensen, W. Hamilton, Ford, Gordon, Traynor. Sub: A. Anderson.
REFEREE: J. Callaghan (Glasgow). CROWD: 10,000.
Right from the start George McLean stamped his personality on the game when he took a Campbell pass, drifted past three defenders with case but failed to give his shot enough power. There was a scare at the other end also when, Fleming on his own about ten yards out, pushed the ball wide.
However 'Dandy' was never far from the action in the early stages and he furnished Campbell with a fine ball only to see the winger's cross drift over. In 13 minutes the mercurial ex-Ranger embarked on another mazy dribble which ended with him being impeded on the edge of the penalty area. He took the free himself unleashing an excellent. shot which was punched out by Cruickshank. It only got as far as Gilroy however. The new boy despatched the rebound into the back of the net to put Dundee one up.
At the other end a McDonald free almost had the same result but Donaldson managed to clear the danger. The Dundee defence was showing considerable signs of indecision and on one occasion Donaldson dived at the feet of Ford to prevent an equaliser.
McLean was still teasing the visitors however and he was being ably assisted by Gilroy.
In 23 minutes the latter pushed the ball in to the path of the onrushing Campbell after clever work out wide. The Northern Ireland international controlled the ball well before shooting past Cruickshank from an acute angle to make it 2-0.
Hearts pulled one back in 37 minutes when Willie Hamilton drifted through the Dundee defence to lay on the perfect opportunity for Traynor who gratefully accepted.
Dundee replied with a Gilroy chip which Cruickshank did brilliantly to stop and the teams went in at 2-1.
The second half opened with five minutes of almost continual pressure from the home team. But Hearts fought back into the game with Hamilton showing great craft and guile and Traynor looking the most likely to score. Dundee still seemed to be displaying some suicidal tendencies and a mix up between Donaldson and Stewart led to Ford being presented with an open goal. Only a last minute header from Houston saved the day for Dundee.
In 57 minutes McDonald of Hearts handled in his own box to concede a penalty. Up stepped that man McLean to take the kick and blasted the ball well wide. Ten minutes later the unfortunate McDonald repeated the offence and Dundee were awarded another spot kick. This time one of the unsung heroes of that era for Dundee, Alec Kinninmonth, took the kick. He scored though only via the post, to make it 3-1.
A Hearts fan encroached the field of play to remonstrate with the referee about the second award but was restrained by players and escorted off by the police.
The visitors began to create more scoring opportunities after this but were met with a more resolute Dundee back division. Both keepers were kept busy in the closing stages with Donaldson stopping three efforts at close range and Hearts skipper Cruickshank doing well to prevent Gilroy getting his second. Thus the game ended 3-1 for Dundee.
For the homesters it was an extremely welcome first home league win of the season. Joe Gilroy (often remembered for his part in a bread advert on TV) was obviously going to prove a useful acquisition for Dundee. Apart from playing well himself he seemed to bring out the best in his fellow forwards particularly the unpredictable Mr McLean.
As I mentioned Big George's performance that day in many ways summed up his football career. On the whole he had an excellent match playing some dazzling football. Yet he drifted out of the game for spells and failed to score even from the penalty spot. One thing - he was never boring.
Hearts fought bravely but were unlucky and must have regretted not taking more advantage of a home defence which at times appeared as wobbly as a jelly.
They were going through a difficult spell and only the day before the Dundee game skipper George Millar had put in a transfer request after learning he had been dropped for the match.
Match report written by David Quinn (Matchday Programme)
|Ally Donaldson (GK)
No league table has been added for this season.