Gretna 3 Dundee 0: Deuchar's day opens up route to Europe for Gretna

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The Independent Football

Kenny Deuchar scored his first goal in professional football four years ago, for Falkirk against Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Marking him that day was a big Caley centre-half, Bobby Mann. On Saturday, Gretna's Deuchar again came up against Mann, now with Dundee, and netted the 100th goal of his professional career - and his 63rd in 69 starts in 20 months at the Borders club. It could yet prove the goal that helped take Gretna not just into the Scottish Cup final but into Europe.

As things stand, Gretna will gain certain entry into next season's Uefa Cup if they beat Hearts in Hampden's showpiece next month. They will also get into Europe, even if they lose the final, but only as long as Hearts finish second in the Scottish Premier League this season.

Deuchar is without doubt a greater player than he was four years ago as a part-timer, or even a year ago, when he was scoring a goal-per-game and hit six hat-tricks in one season to equal Jimmy Greaves' long-standing British record.

The 25-year-old is not refined, not especially quick and not possessed of a sublime touch but he is big, persistent and effective. Also, as Deuchar's opener showed on Saturday, when he intercepted a back pass, ran on goal and slotted home from the most acute of angles, he is a decent finisher.

Gretna's other goals came via an undeserved penalty, won and converted by Ryan McGuffie, and a deserved third, when Jamie McQuilken's cross was back-heeled into the net by John O'Neil via the Dundee captain, Barry Smith.

These two sides will meet again in the First Division next season and on this evidence Gretna will be contenders for a third straight promotion.

Deuchar, who celebrated at the final whistle like a big, daft dog - bounding, lip-licking, grinning - should be part of it.

Goals: Deuchar (45) 1-0; McGuffie (58 pen) 2-0; Smith (82 og) 3-0.

Gretna (3-5-2): Main; Birch, Innes, Townsley; McGuffie, Tosh, Nicholls (McQuilken, 78), O'Neil, Skelton; Grady (Shields, 79), Deuchar. Substitutes not used: Mathieson (gk), McBride, Berkeley.

Dundee (4-4-2): Jack; McCluskey (K McDonald, 54), C McDonald, Mann, Dixon; McManus (Craig, 64), Robertson, Smith, Brady (Robb, 76); Lynch, Deasley. Substitutes not used: Murray (gk), Law.

Referee: C Murray (Scotland).

Booked: Dundee Mann.

Man of the match: Deuchar.

Attendance: 14,179.