Jim McIntyre prevented Dundee from walking off with three points at Tannadice yesterday as he secured a merited draw for Dundee United in a pulsating city derby.
The towering striker's 56th-minute header cancelled out the first-half penalty by Nacho Novo in a game that Dundee appeared certain to stroll until a rousing half-time talk from the United manager, Ian McCall.
The 170-yard journey between Britain's two closest football rivals is usually made on foot and Dundee's recent acquisition, Fabrizio Ravanelli, admitted later: "It was strange - you could never do this in Italy."
The former Juventus and Middlesbrough striker may be 35 but he ran around like a teenager here. "Fabrizio's work rate is excellent, he gave us everything," the Dundee manager, Jim Duffy, said.
So, too, did the home players, who suffered a half-time rollicking from McCall for their tepid display in the opening half. "Derek McInnes started to get hold of the ball in midfield and we started making passes," McCall said. "We should have won it at the end."
That was something McCall could not have contemplated saying after 20 minutes when Novo broke the deadlock with a penalty after he had been fouled by David McCracken.
Ravanelli's link work set up Fabian Caballero on two more occasions and United were grateful to reach half-time without further damage. But they reappeared in a new guise, and a storming opening to the second half saw McIntyre level, rising to meet a cross from Jim Paterson and plant a downward header beyond the goalkeeper, Julien Speroni.
Andy McLaren and Alan Archibald peppered Speroni's goal with shots before Caballero seemed to be denied a penalty in the 76th minute after Chris Innes tripped him. Then Novo brought two sublime saves out of the keeper, Paul Gallacher.
One cloud for Dundee was the hamstring injury to Gavin Rae which could force the midfielder to miss Scotland's Euro 2004 play off with Holland next month.
Dundee United (3-5-2): Gallacher; Innes, McCracken, Archibald; Wilson, McInnes, Dodds (Coyle, 74), Easton, Paterson; McLaren, McIntyre. Substitutes not used: Jarvie (gk), Griffin, Kerr, Robson.
Dundee (4-3-3): Speroni; Mackay, Wilkie, Mair, Hernandez (Burley, 51); Smith, Rae (Fotheringham, 70), Brady; Novo, Ravanelli (Sara, 88), Caballero. Substitutes not used: Langfield (gk), Linn.
Referee: M McCurry.
Booked: Dundee United: McLaren.
Man of the match: Smith.
Attendance: 12,767.Reuse content