Aberdeen. . . . . 0
JIM McINALLY broke the deadlock in this replayed Tennents Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park last night with a second-half goal to put United into their seventh Scottish Cup final in the last 20 years. They now await the winners of tonight's replay between Kilmarnock and Rangers.
Although the National Stadium was less than half full, those who made the journey south to support both teams made up for the lack of numbers with enthusiastic vocal support. In the first half, however, there was precious little to cheer about.
Willie Miller, the Aberdeen manager, brought back Theo Snelders in goal, who had been out of action for a month with a shoulder injury. The Dutchman was only once called into action in the first 45 minutes, when he saved a diving header from Craig Brewster at his near post.
United lost Dave Bowman, their midfield player, for four minutes with a head cut after a clash with Brian Irvine and the Dons almost made their numerical advantage count as Duncan Shearer sent a header narrowly wide.
The stalemate continued into the second half and goal attempts were largely restricted to long-range shooting. Shearer, the most lively forward on the field, sent in a shot on the turn which Guido Van de Kamp saved well but it was an isolated moment in a game bogged down in midfield.
There was too little guile and insufficient creativity to unlock either defence, despite the midfield promptings of both sides.
In an attempt to change the pattern, Aberdeen brought on the winger Joe Miller in place of Ray McKinnon, their former Nottingham Forest midfielder, but it was United who secured their passage with a superbly engineered goal.
McInally found Brewster on the edge of the penalty area and he flighted a well-judged cross to Bowman. His shot was saved by Snelders, but the ball broke to McInally, who had time and space to shoot home from six yards.
Dundee United (3-5-2): Van de Kamp; Cleland, Petric, Welsh; McInally, McKinlay, Bowman, Bollan, Malpas; McLaren, Brewster (Dailly, 73). Substitute not used: Nixon.
Aberdeen (4-4-2): Snelders; McKimmie, Irvine, Smith, Robertson (Booth, 72); Grant, Kane, Richardson, McKinnon (Miller, 64); Jess, Shearer.
Referee: J McCluskey (Stewarton).