Inverness Caledonian Thistle 0
Dundee 1
Scottish Cup (Semi Final)

Inverness CT 

0 - 1


Scottish Cup (Semi Final)
Sunday, April 20th, 2003
Hampden Park
Attendance: 14,429
3:00 PM Kick-off

None. Giorgi Nemsadze (78)

Team Managers
John Robertson Jim Duffy

Starting Eleven
1. Mark Brown
2. Ross Tokely
3. Stuart Golabek
4. Bobby Mann
5. Stuart McCaffrey
6. Roy McBain
7. Russell Duncan
8. Dennis Wyness
9. Paul Ritchie
10. Richard Hart
11. Barry Robson
Julian Speroni .12
Jonay Hernández .16
Zurab Khizanishvili .13
David Mackay .3
Lee Wilkie .6
Garry Brady .26
Giorgi Nemsadze .10
Gavin Rae .8
Fabian Caballero .7
Steve Lovell .25
Steven Milne .15

12. Charlie Christie
14. David Bagan
15. Graeme Stewart
16. Liam Keogh
17. Michael Fraser
Jamie Langfield .1
Lee Mair .19
Gavin Beith .14
Steven Robb .21
Nacho Novo .17

David Bagan for Russell Duncan (83)
Charlie Christie for Stuart McCaffrey (83)
Nacho Novo for Steven Milne (63)
Lee Mair for Steve Lovell (89)

Ross Tokely (77)
Barry Robson (81)

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

Douglas McDonald (Referee)
Jim Lyon & Francis Andrews (Assistants)
John Underhill (Fourth Official)

Match Report

Semi finals are renowned as being tense and nervy affairs and this one was certainly that. Certainly the carrot of a guaranteed European spot for the winners only heaped the pressure on the Dark Blues who were clear favorites, given that Caley Thistle are from a Division below them.

Not that you would have been able to tell in the early stages and once Jim Duffy's men came through that edgy first half, it was only a question of whether Caley could take them to a Pittodrie replay.

Thankfully, for those increasingly frayed nerves, and not just in the Dundee support, a late Nemsadze goal meant that it was alright on the night, or should we say afternoon.

Dundee were without captain Barry Smith who was suspended and there was another shock for the nine thousand strong traveling Dundee support as Mark Burchill, who had scored in the previous three matches was missing from the line up. His pregnant girlfriend had gone into labour on Sunday morning and he had been excused to be present at the birth of his child, Jim Duffy acknowledged that there are more important things than football when he said "That is a once in a life-time experience and something you can never miss, Seeing the birth of his child will stay with him for ever and he'll probably play in lots more semi-finals and score lots more goals, but the birth will be one special moment."

Lee Mair dropped to the bench as Zura Khizanishvili returned to the starting eleven after injury and the Dark Blues had much to thank the young Georgian for as he turned in a masterful display on a day when many were not at their best.

To say the Dark Blues started tentatively would be a gross understatement as Caley made all the early running.

Twice within a minute the Highlanders came close to scoring.

After eight minutes, former Dark Blue, Paul Ritchie swept a shot narrowly over after Hart laid the ball into and then Dennis Wyness thundered in a 25-yarder that Julian Speroni magnificently touched on to the bar.

No less than 24 minutes passed before Jim Duffy's side finally threatened and Steve Lovell went very close to breaking the deadlock.

Zura Khizanishvili broke from defence to thread the ball though to the Englishman, but Brown advanced from goal and diverted the striker's shot past the post with his leg for a corner. That finally sparked Dundee into attacking life and the Thistle defence finally came under some pressure as they conceded a series of corners.

Lee Wilkie had a header blocked on the half hour mark, but Caley survived and looked still threatened on the break.

However, Dundee were making the better chances and Stevie Milne should have done better when Steve Lovell hoisted the ball to him after Caballero had done the spadework.

Now very much in the ascendancy, The 'Dee dominated and really should have gone ahead after 59 minutes,

Brady picked the ball up on the edge of the box and Caballero ran on to his clever lob, but all on his own and right in front of goal, he seemed certain to score, only to chip the ball over the bar after the keeper had committed himself.

There was more frustration for the Dundee support eighteen minutes from the end when Novo ran on to a long ball from Hernandez, but the Spanish substitute failed to make contact and another good chance went a begging.

But the goal that everyone craved came twelve minutes from the end and if the finish lacked finesse, the build-up didn't.

Garry Brady hoisted a first time pass out to Fabian Caballero on the left. He powered his way to the past two defenders to cut the ball back to Georgi Nemsadze who, in keeping with the all the tension, almost speculatively steered the ball with the outside of his right-foot into the net via the far post.

From then on, the clock seemed to get slower and slower, but in truth, there was far more chance of Dundee adding to their score and Zura almost did that with a surging run which took him through on goal. only to slip the ball narrowly past the near post.

It mattered not, and if the actual ninety minutes don't linger in the memory banks, the outcome will, because no one remembers beaten semi-finalists.

If the final whistle brought joy for thousands of Dundee fans, it only brought devastation for Lee Wilkie who trudged off the park inconsolably at the thought that he would miss the final after picking up a booking. Jim Duffy had comforting words for the big stopper who has been a key player throughout the season for Dundee and it was made worse by the fact that for an hour after the match the SFA continued to insist that he wasn't suspended, a viewpoint they had conveyed to Dundee on more than one occasion during the pre-match build up!

Match report written by Dundee Matchday Programme

Squad Statistics (as at April 20th, 2003)

2002-03 All Time
Julian Speroni (GK)23 40 - 61 -
Jonay Hernández24 311311
Zurab Khizanishvili21 21 - 47 -
David Mackay21 381562
Lee Wilkie23 372853
Garry Brady26 281281
Giorgi Nemsadze30 272795
Gavin Rae25 38522223
Fabian Caballero25 3879423
Steve Lovell22 30133013
Steven Milne22 2869017
Lee Mair (sub)22 28 - 28 -
Nacho Novo (sub)24 389389

League Table (as at April 20th, 2003)

No league table has been added for this season.