Even before Jim Jeffries arrived at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock had become a bit of a bogey side for Dundee United.
There have been many occasions between the two sides when Dundee United have dominated proceedings, but still ended up as the losing side – usually to a 2-0 scoreline.
In the 1st match of the 1998/99 season, Dundee United travelled to Rugby Park with new signing Roger Boli as part of the squad.
Boli was an attacking player who signed during the summer – a player who had promised so much, but delivered so little.
On the 1st of August 1998, Boli scored twice against Kilmarnock, but both goals were wrongly chopped off for offside.
The first was in the opening stages of the match and was flagged offside by the linesman, so the referee chopped it off. The 2nd goal wasn’t flagged offside by the lineman, but the referee overruled his official and chopped it off as well.
Both goals were shown to be perfectly fine on the TV, with several Kilmarnock players keeping Boli onside on both occasion – but Kilmarnock went on to win the match 2-0 with goals from Paul Wright and Pat Nevin.
Then, in a bizarre match at Tannadice, a Dundee United supporter had to run the line in the 2nd half, when the referee limped off with a hamstring injury during the half-time.
The tannoy announcer appealed to fans inside the ground with the right credentials to make themselves known and it was a Dundee United supporter who became the George Fox stand assistant referee for 45minutes.
Then score at half-time was already 1-0 to the visitors, but early in the 2nd half the replacement ref obviously wanted to balance things out and awarded Killie a dodgy penalty when Jerome Vareille divided over Sieb Dijkstra.
Dijsktra clearly had both hands on the ball, but Vareillie’s spectacular dive won the undeserved penalty and Kilmarnock eventually ran out 2-0 winners on the day.
Earlier this season, Craig Levein’s side beat Kilmarnock 1-0 at Tannadice thanks to a 71st Noel Hunt strike, but a miserable start to 2007 means that United would be happy to come away from Rugby Park with anything – as long as it’s not another 5 goal defeat.
“Jim (Jeffries) and Billy (Brown) are working wonders down there,” United assistant manager Peter Houston told the Courier.
“They have done a great job wherever they’ve been. Jim is the good man manager while Billy has more to do with the coaching side of things, so they work well as a pair.”
“They also like to play attacking football and go for it in games, they remind me of Jimmy Calderwood at Aberdeen in that respect.”
“They are going through a sticky patch and that 2-0 defeat meant they have not won in five league games. However, I don’t think that will count for anything as a team just needs a wee break and a goal to make a difference.”
“We had a smashing game against them up here in what was our second game in charge of United. It took an exceptional finish from Noel Hunt to separate the sides and I expect it to be close again on Saturday.”
Kilmarnock Team News:
Paul Di Giacomo(out-fractured cheekbone)
Player to watch: Steven Naismith
Naismith scored twice in 5 minutes against United when the two sides squared up at Rubgy Park in March 2006, with 13 and 18 minute strikes.
Luckily on that occasion David McCracken and Derek McInnes pulled it back for United in the 2nd half, but Naismith went on to score 9 goals last season.
This season he already has 9 goals to his name, including 2 from an amazing 4-3 win over Inverness Caley Thistle, so Craig Levein’s side will have to keep an eye on him for the full 90minutes at Rugby Park.
Lets hope they do a better job marking him than they did with dangerman John Sutton in the St Mirren match midweek!!!
Dundee United Team News:
Captain Barry Robson is suspended and Steven Robb still out with a back injury, but Christian Kalvenes is back from a knee injury and Lee Wilkie is available after returning from his loan spell at Ross County.
Player to watch: Jon Daly
One of Craig Levein’s January transfer window signings, along with Sean Dillon and Morgaro Gomis.
Daly is yet to score his first goal for Dundee United, appearing in the last 2 matches against Rangers at Ibrox and Saint Mirren in the Scottish Cup.
He’s good in the air and looks capable of muscling players off the ball, but also has the ability to hold the ball up.
Match Facts & Stats
Last 3 meetings:
11th November 2006, SPL
Dundee United 1-0 Kilmarnock
Venue: Tannadice Park, Dundee
Referee: William Collum
Noel Hunt (71min, Dundee Utd)
12th August 2006, SPL
Kilmarnock 0-0 Dundee United
Venue: Rugby Park, Kilmarnock
Referee: Stuart Dougal
25th March 2006, SPL
Dundee United 2-2 Kilmarnock
Venue: Rugby Park, Kilmarnock
Referee: Iain Brines
Steven Naismith (13mins, Killie)
Steven Naismith (18mins, Killie)
David McCracken (47mins, Dundee Utd)
Derek McInnes (51mins, Dundee Utd)
I didnt predict a result for the Cup match, because I didnt want to jinx United – and it worked, even though David Robertson left it until almost to last kick of the ball to secure a win.
So, once again I wont make a prediction and hope for the best – though Im useless at predicting United scores anyway!!!
Kilmarnock ?-? Dundee United
(Why not make your own score line predictions in the article comments box below or on the messageboard!)
Dundee United v Dunfermline (27th Jan 2007, SPL)
Falkirk v Kilmarnock (27th Jan 2007, SPL)