McIntyre breaks deadlock for Kilmarnock

Football: Kilmarnock 1 Dundee United 0
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The Independent Online
It took a precise touch to settle this untidy Tennents Scottish Cup semi- final replay at Easter Road, Edinburgh, last night. That touch came from Jim McIntyre, the Kilmarnock striker, five minutes from time to the obvious delight and relief of the blue-bedecked backers.

The Kilmarnock supporters who danced into the darkness in celebration did so in the knowledge that their side will be firmly in the spotlight on Scottish Cup final day on 24 May. They will care little whether Celtic or Falkirk, who play tonight in their semi-final replay, will be there to meet them.

McIntyre, lurking with serious intent inside the United penalty area turned a John Henry shot into the net from close range to deliver the denouement to a disappointing double-header. The first game eight days ago had been a sterile affair of little merit and while last night's replay was again the victim of a bumpy Easter Road pitch there were at least several sparks throughout the 90 minutes to provide optimism on both sides.

Few of the players on show were able to display grace or skill on the surface but the collective will and determination to succeed covered many ills.

Both goalkeepers, in fairness, did have to pull out important saves and in the 18th minute Mark Perry, of United, headed a cross against the bar and his team-mate, Neil Duffy, saw his shot cleared off the line two minutes later.

At the other end Sieb Dykstra, in the United goal, punched clear from under his own crossbar under intense pressure. The Dutch goalkeeper responded early in the second half to push over a volley from McIntyre and Paul Wright later "scored" from close range only to have his celebration cut short by the intervention of an offside flag. The same player had a late volley blocked by a massed Dundee United defence, but with five minutes remaining McIntyre exposed a chink in United's armour.

And so Kilmarnock will contest the final game in the Scottish calendar for the first time since 1960. The moment of glory has been a long time coming.

Kilmarnock (4-4-2): Lekovic; McPherson, McGowne, Montgomerie, Kerr; Bagen (McKee, 89) Henry, Reilly, Holt; Wright (Brown, 88), McIntyre. Substitute not used: Prytz.

Dundee United (3-5-2): Dykstra; Pressley, Malpas (Bowman, 43), Pedersen; Perry, Duffy, Dolan (Winters, 62), Zetterlund, McLaren; Olafsson, McKinnon. Substitute not used: McSwegan.

Referee: J McCluskey (Stewarton).