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Dundee 1 - 1 Aberdeen

HT Score: Dundee 1 - 1 Aberdeen

Div 1 (Old)
Dundee scorers: McLean
Aberdeen scorers: Miller.

01/01/1924 | KO:

Aberdeen and Dundee Finish Level. ROUGHNESS AT DENS PARK.

Tempers on Edge at Dundee

The rivalry which exists between Dundee and Aberdeen did not find particularly happy or creditable expression at Dens Park, Dundee. Opening brightly in ideal weather, the game promised to develop into a fine football treat for the crowd of nearly 20,000 holidaymakers. Clever football was sustained for a considerable time, the Aberdeen forwards showing splendid combination, but deterioration followed when bad feeling crept into the game, and there were an extraordinarily large number of "incidents" which called for the intervention of the referee, J. B. Stevenson, Motherwell. Aberdeen lost Rankine, their inside left, shortly before the interval owing to an ankle injury, and he was unable to appear in the second half, during which Dundee did most of the pressing. Both sides scored in the first half. Aberdeen's goal was smartly taken by Miller, and McLean equalised with a magnificent long shot. Blackwell did good work in the Aberdeen goal, but shortly before the close he should have been beaten by Halliday, who failed to score when he had the goal at his mercy after Forsyth had miskicked.

Source: The Scotsman, 2nd January 1924

The play was over strenuous from first to last, the keen rivalry which exists between the clubs probably being the explanation. Aberdeen took the lead first when Miller bolted between the Dundee backs and scored. Before the end of the first half-hour McLean equalised. Until the close the game was vigorously contested, but no further goals were added. Aberdeen played during the second half without Rankine, who was injured, while during this period they also temporarily lost the services of their centre forward.

Source: Glasgow Herald, 2nd January 1924

Members of the Aberdeen and Dundee teams may consider themselves fortunate that they come to grips only two occasions during the football season. Yesterday's return Northern Derby at Dens Park had a similar result to that of the first meeting - a draw - but whereas no goals were scored at Aberdeen two were registered yesterday. The game will rank as one of the most degrading that has ever taken place between these noted rivals, and players in both teams may consider themselves lucky that will not have to defend their actions before the Referees' Committee of the S.F.A. While the players were not blameless, the referee must he held primarily responsible for the unsatisfactory state of affairs. It is true he administered several cautions, but these appeared to halve no salutary effect on the delinquents, with the result that in the second half, at any rate, the game resolved itself into a test of brute strength and an exhibition of shady tactics. Players on both sides denied their opponents the most elementary courtesies usually associated with the field of sport. It was a "no quarter" atmosphere which marked the game, and as the result if over-hefty charges, too robust tackling, and a general tendency to indulge in tactics not in accordance with the recognised standards of sportsmanship, there must be players on both sides today suffering from sores which could have been avoided had the official in charge exercised a more discreet supervision. But it can be repeated ? The players were not blameless.


As for the game itself, its very sordidness made it thrilling. Its redeeming feature was the heroic resistance offered by the Aberdeen team in the last fifty-five minutes of the game, during which they were without Rankin, who had to be assisted off, and was unable to resume on account of an ankle injury. The result bears testimony to the effectiveness of the Aberdeen defence, which throughout a gruelling and at times rough game, never faltered, and was seen at its best when its back was to the wall. Energy, vigour, and physical force were featured by both teams to the exclusion of the scientific element and although the latter not altogether obliterated, the game as a real test of football skill can be discounted.


Blackwell in the Aberdeen goal had many opportunities of proving his abilities, which he did, and in addition frequently demonstrated that power of quick decision invaluable to a goalkeeper in a stirring game such as this. At full back Hutton and Forsyth enhanced their claims for consideration by the International selectors. Theirs was not a polished display, it is true, but their fearlessness, their decisive tackling, and powerful returns, blended with admirable understanding, defied all the efforts but one of a dashing and resourceful attack. Both sustained minor injuries, but it is not expected these will prevent them from playing against Hibernians this afternoon. The halfbacks had a strenuous and exacting afternoon. In this division Davidson, Jackson, and MacLachlan played a worrying game, and while their time was more occupied in defence than attack, they let few opportunities slip to get their forwards moving. Jackson executed a remarkable recovery near the end of the game. Halliday had got past the backs with the ball at his foot, and Jackson set himself an apparently hopeless task of overtaking him. By a magnificent effort, this he successfully accomplished, and just as Halliday was about to shoot, Jackson from behind tipped the ball away to Blackwell, who picked up and cleared. The effort was not lost on Jackson's colleagues, several of whom in the heat of the struggle found time to give him a congratulatory handshake. Needless to say, Halliday did not enjoy the same experience at the hands of the Dundee players. Until the unfortunate retiral of Rankin after thirty-five, minutes' play, Aberdeen had been much the better balanced and methodical side.


Adopting swinging tactics and making full use of their extreme wingers, they repeatedly had the Dundee defence in a tangle, and, apart from the goal that fell to Miller, Fotheringham's charge had several narrow escapes. Miller's goal was the outcome of a concerted movement which left him in possession in front of Gilmour after ten minutes' play. He neatly tricked the back to draw the goalkeeper, and scored with a swift ground shot. Previous to that Smith had executed a brilliant run almost half the distance of the field. He centred accurately across the goal, and Fotheringham missed the ball for Miller to just fail to reach it with his head. Smith, Grant, Miller, and Moir, all had good tries which either missed by a bare margin or were blocked by defenders who muddled through. After the retiral of Rankin the line became disorganised, yet their individual dashes and few attempts at concerted effort came very near to winning the match in the second half. Grant had two capital shots with which Fotheringham was fortunate to be in line, and Miller, who never ceased to be a trier; Smith, whose speed repeatedly beat the opposition; and Moir had shots which came near to snatching victory. Of the line, Smith and Miller were easily best - indeed, they were the most effective forwards on the field. Moir was erratic, but Grant never failed to press home the attack.
The play of Aberdeen suggested that had they been at full strength throughout victory would have been theirs, for they were both sounder in defence and more methodical in attack, and Rankin's absence can be regarded as representing to them the difference of a point.


Fotheringham in the Dundee goal often had his wits tried out, and frequently had to bring his feet into play. In the opening half both backs appeared to lack confidence, and it was only when the strength of the Aberdeen attack was depleted that Thomson proved himself the cool master of resource he is reputed to be. Gilmour was rather prone to indulge in over-robust tactics, and was lucky to escape penalty. The same can be said of Thomson, who was fortunate to escape with a caution as a sequel to an incident in which he figured with Miller. Of the Dundee half-backs, Ross was easily outstanding, and yet he never really subdued Miller, the Aberdeen leader. Although they persistently attacked in the second half, it was in the forward line where the failings of Dundee were most marked. Repeatedly in midfield they had the better of the Aberdeen defence, but at closer range the latter easily held the upper hand, and yet time and again, only a matter of inches decided success or failure of a run through, a shot, or a tackle. McLean scored his side's goal, and it was a spectacular effort from 25 yards' range fifteen minutes after Miller's count. The internationalist was the generator and brains of the attack. Halliday in the centre failed to play to form, and while he had several creditable tries his tendency to overdo individual work and delay his shot proved disastrous for his side. McDonald on the left was a vigorous raider, who tested Hutton to the full, but Bird and Duncan proved too easy prey for a defence that covered up as did Aberdeen's. It was not a history-making game - indeed, it was one which is best forgot, and the only satisfactory thing about it is that the scores were level at the finish.


There was an unusual incident in the course of the second half. The referee got mixed up in an exciting scrimmage, in which was accidentally kicked on the leg by a player. He was obviously in pain, and, calling a halt had to signal for trainers' assistance. After being treated, he proceeded with the game, but limped for the remainder of the period.

Source: Press & Journal, 2nd January 1924

Dundee Teamsheet
Fotheringham; Thomson, Gilmour; Letham, Ross, Coyle; Bird, McLean, Halliday, Duncan, M Donald
Attendance: 20,000
Venue: Dens Park, Dundee
Referee: J. B. Stevenson, Motherwell
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East Kilbride
20 Jul 2024 / 15:00 / K-Park Training Academy, East Kilbride