Scottish Football: Jess takes the honours

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The Independent Online
Aberdeen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Dundee United. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

FOR ALL their undoubted skills, patience was the key commodity for Aberdeen, who had to wait until the final 15 minutes to secure their passage to the Tennents Scottish Cup quarter-finals, courtesy of two goals from Eoin Jess against a United side clearly missing the striking talents of Duncan Ferguson.

In Jess the Dons have one of the brightest young players in Scotland. His fleetness of foot is matched by a dependable first touch and a quick brain, skills which have thrust him to the verge of international honours. He is sure to be named in the Scotland squad for the World Cup qualifier against Malta next week, and for many a Jess-McCoist combination will be an appealing prospect.

Backed by a lively midfield and responsive forwards, Jess was given the platform to fully demonstrate his skills. Taking a Duncan Shearer pass in his stride in the seventh minute, he evaded a Maurice Malpas tackle before shooting into the side-net. He later hit a snap shot from 18 yards which required a fine save from Alan Main, and yet another effort was deflected for a corner.

When they did arrive, however, Aberdeen's goals required little more than the ability to be in the right place to finish off rehearsed moves. The first, in 76 minutes, resulted from a Stephen Wright cross which was headed across goal by Shearer who had drawn defenders to him, allowing the unmarked Jess an easy header. Nine minutes later, a similar move saw Roy Aitken supply the cross, the header came from Mixu Paatelainen, the end result being the same.

For Aberdeen, the reward is a home tie against Clydebank, while United are left with only a European place to play for.

Aberdeen: Snelders; Wright, Smith, Grant, Irvine, McLeish, Richardson, Mason (Booth, 69), Jess, Shearer (Aitken, 80), Paatelainen.

Dundee United: Main; Clark, Malpas, Bowman, Perry, Narey, McKinlay, Johnson (Connolly, 79), Dailly, Crabbe, Bollan. Substitute not used: O'Neill.

Referee: D Syme (Rutherglen).

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