During the winter of 1962/63 the playing surface at Tannadice was so badly damaged by rain, ice, wind and snow – but they patched it up with lots and lots of sand, turning the pitch into more of a desert than a football ground.
After beating Albion Rovers 3-0 in a Scottish Cup tie, some people remarked about how well the Dundee United players had coped with playing on the sandy pitch – and the nickname ‘The Arabs’ was born.
The nickname has since been adopted by the Dundee United supporters, but there were few Arabs sitting in the stands against Hibernian on Sunday who would have been impressed by how well this team adapted to the Tannadice playing surface.
The state of the pitch has come in for some serious condemnation by journalists and football supporters alike over the past few days, after an attack of daddy long legs has turned the pitch into a patchy, uneven bombsite – which is an embarrassment to Dundee United and the SPL.
Rangers have recently taken the usual step of relaying their turf during January, but even Ibrox wasn`t as unplayable as the ground at Tannadice before they re-laid it.
Dundee United and Hibs both struggled to pass the ball around on the uneven surface, with the ball ricocheting off in random directions and most of the time ending up at the feet of an opposition player.
Craig Levein only made one change to the side which beat Saint Mirren 1-0 at Love Street, with attacker Collin Samuel coming back into the starting line-up at the expense of Morgaro Gomis.
Although it was Craig Conway who had the best chance of the whole match in the clsing stages of the 1st half – when he found himself unmarked at the backpost, but failed to redirect Barry Robson`s pass into the empty net.
Collin Samuel had a great chance to open the scoring early in the 2nd half, after keeper Scott Brown hit the ball straight to him, but he seemed to panic and curled his shot wide of the right-hand post.
Then, Robson dribbled the ball past 2 Hibs players, before blasting in a 20-yard strike from just to the left of centre, but his shot flew just over the bar.
As usual, Captain Barry Robson hit the target with another magnificent long-range freekick, but this time it was expertly saved by Hibs keeper Simon Brown in the 2nd half.
The match could have turned out much different, if Hibs had taken the lead early in the 1st half, with Beuzelin hitting the cross bar in the opening stages.
Abdessalam Benjelloun sent the French midfielder clear of the United defence, with only Derek Stillie to beat – but the ball bobbled just before the shot and came back off the crossbar.
The only highlights of this match were:
1. That youngster David Robertson recovered from a first half head knock, returning to the field after 10minutes of treatment.
2. That Dundee United weren`t beaten in the league again this year and picked up another clean sheet. It was the 2nd consecutive home 0-0 draw, which takes United up 2 whole places in the SPL league table.
3. The final whistle!
Dundee United needed to win the match to keep up the pressure on a top 6 place, with Kilmarnock 6 points clear at the start of the match.
However, a solitary point from this goalless draw moved United up 2 places to 8th in the SPL table, with Motherwell and Caley Thistle both on the same points until this result.
Dundee United 0-0 Hibernian