Source: The Scotsman, 11th February 1926
Value of an Early LeadIt was evident in Saturday's game that in an encounter between these rivals, the side that got in the first blow would probably win. This is exactly what happened yesterday. In the first minute, Aberdeen got a goal, and although hard pressed and more than once indebted to the smiles of fortune, they played that confidence which is born of an early advantage. Dundee, though struggling hard, never really recovered from the shock, and, in their efforts to get out, they only got deeper in the mire. Some still hold that Aberdeen were fortunate to win by 3-0, but in a cup-tie, more than in a league game, goals are of paramount importance, and the fact remains that Aberdeen having for three, and Dundee, having failed to register a practical reply, were worthy winners of a tie that will have pleasant memories for the winners and some sad reflections for the losers. Although the conditions were unfavourable and in direct contrast to those on Saturday, the teams were on an equal footing in this respect, and it really cannot be said that one adapted itself to the conditions any better than the other; but there was this difference - that Aberdeen had the punch forward which Dundee lacked, while the winners had a distinct advantage in defence.
Enthusiasm TellsFew Aberdeen teams have given such an exhibition of enthusiastic wholeheartedness as that which broke the sequence at Dens Park yesterday. From the outset it was evident they were out for an early lead, and, having got it, and proceeded to increase it as opportunity presented itself. That is exactly what happened, and that explains how it comes about that Aberdeen, who probably only accounted for one-third of the attacking in the game, won by three goals to nil. Dundee critics may think their team was unfortunate, but on reflececting on the incidents of the game, and weighing up the merits as goal-getters of , the two attacks, and the merits of the merits of goal-preventers of the two defences, they can only come to the conclusion that victory went to the more deserving side. To a ,an the Aberdeen team played to form. Not one of the eleven was off and there was a harmony of purpose over all that simply defied opposition. Their victory was a triumph for team work and team spirit, and from goal to centre-forward every man did his duty nobly, and even where the flesh was weak, it was evident the spirit was willing.
The Aberdeen Defence.Blackwell, in the last line of defence, was in top form, and in a number of dangerous situations never made the semblance of a mistake. His smartest save was, when after being unsighted, he was just able to terrific shot by McLean against the crossbar in the first half. But for this acrobatic feat on his part, Dundee would undoubtedly have equalised, as at the time Aberdeen had only obtained a one-goal lead, and a success for Dundee at that time might have altered the whole trend of the game. He had much credit by the result. Not the least part in their side's victory was that played by the Aberdeen backs. In the face ot terrific onslaughts they stood their ground unflinchingly. Hutton found Cook a moat elusive customer, but, when beaten, the Aberdeen back was quick to recover, and it showed the understanding in the rear divisions that a colleague was always at hand to lend assistance. The International back has played better games, yet he fulfilled a useful purpose, and was a big asset to his team. D. Bruce, like Hutton, did not make too impressive a start, but later he settled down to play one of his best games of the season, and the Dundee right attack could make little of him. He tackled, kicked, and headed with rare accuracy afterwards, and was just about the best back on the field.
Part of the Half-BacksNo division on the field is deserving of more praise than the half-back trio - Cosgrove, Edward, and MacLachlan. They turned lessons of Saturday to account, and while the game appropriate to a team out to retain a lead as against a side out to obtain it, they seldom failed to give their forwards the support the latter have a right to expect. Edward played a great tactical defensive game, and his positional play between the backs served his side well in many a trying moment. He did not shine in constructive work, but for once the circumstances did not demand this; yet when the occasion presented, he did not neglect to force home the attack. In the circumstances he played the correct game, and was a big factor in the discomfiture of trio of Dundee inside forwards. MacLachlan was his usual aggressive-defensive self. Resolute in tackle and quick to grasp a situation, he repeatedly cropped up opportunely, and his initiative and example were an inspiration to the team which he captained so well. If more delicate in touch, Cosgrove, too, played a fine game for his side, although like Hutton, he never was exactly comfortable with the elusive Cook. He, however, accounted for some nice touches which leped to transform Aberdeen from a defending into an attacking side.
Forwards and GoalsSeldom has a team got so few opportunities and yet won so decisively as Aberdeen on this occasion. The spirit that permeated the defence was also evident in attack, and the three goals that came were the outcome of adherence to a sound tactical scheme, backed up by grit and determination through which goals can only be obtained in cup-ties where teams of the same calibre are in opposition. Reid began at outside right, but for more than half the game was in the inside position. He did well in the first-mentioned berth, but really surpassed himself after changing places with R. Bruce, who damaged his knee. In the second period especially, Reid not only forced the game and repeatedly changed the situation from defence to attack, but was also a worrying tackler who went fearlessly for the ball when in possession of heavier opponents. As an inside forward, his play, even to those who know him, was a revelation. R. Bruce had the misfortune to come by a mishap in the first half, but the little fellow once again demonstrated ow big-hearted he is, his was a most judicious exhibition. He had a big say in the opening goal, which came after 30 seconds' play. Smith centred a high ball and Bruce jumped almost his own height to head it goalwards. The ball went awkwardly to Britton who knocked it up and, before he could recover, Pirie had dashed in and netted almost below the bar. Bruce capped his afternoon's performance by scoring the third goal. It came about in this way. Pirie had swung the ball out to Smith, who carried on, at the same time cutting in, and let go a fast ground shot. Britton met it at full length, but only deflected the ball to the waiting Bruce, who without interference practically walked it into the net. Apart from this, Bruce inclusion added push to the attack, and even after being handicapped by injury, he continued to be a great source of danger to the Dundee defence.
A Judicious LeaderPirie was a leader in every sense of the term. Very few chances came to him in front of goal, and it is to his credit that he scored from two of the most difficult that came his way. He got the first because he had followed up, and showed that, given the opportunity, he could avail himself of it. The second goal was also his, and was the result of a splendidly-judged effort. Cosgrove had worked well forward and lobbed a dangerous ball into goal, and Britton rushed out to fist clear, but before he could do so Pirie intervened and headed into the untenanted net. Apert form his goals, Pirie played a most judicious game. His distribution distribution left nothing to be desired, he never failed to make ground when the ball came anything like kindly to him. McDermid's display was a, 50-per-cent improvement on that of Saturday. He seems to excel in a semi-defensive game, and this fitted the circumstances yesterday, but he was also seen to advantage as a generator of accurate passes, and was the man behind the scenes in the effective work which Smith so effectively carried out the left touch-line. Smith's display was one of his best for the season, and he really was the most dangerous and fastest raider on the field. Altogether, Aberdeen excelled as an offensive and defensive combination, no team could have adapted themselves more to the circumstances than they did.
About Dundee.A word for the losers. Dundee suffered, like most teams in a cup-tie from the shock of an early reverse, and after that their nervous system gave way. They attacked again and again with great persistency, but even allowing that they did not enjoy the best of luck in the first half, one was always sceptical about their ability to get level. Britton did not play so well as at Pittodrie, and while he saved well on occasion there was an impression that, by more decisive tactics, he might have prevented the first and third goals. Thomson was much the better back, and while one could not find much fault with the half-backs, they really did not work in harmony with their colleagues in front, and were all too prone to send the ball too far ahead. McNab, who hit the upright with a fine shot in the first half, was again the most prominent of the trio. In the outfield, the forwards were sprightly enough, but it was really in this division that the effect of the loss of the early goal was most apparent. In front of goal they could do little right, and even allowing that luck against them they were the department that let their team down. Cook, by reason of his brilliant individualism, was easily the most prominent, yet all his work really went for nothing, and it could not be said he gave his colleagues much opportunity to improve upon the solo efforts which he overdid. Campbell was again most dangerous, and there were at least two occasions when having worked close he should have scored, but his direction was at fault. McLean and Findlay were clever on occasion, but apart from an effort by McLean, which Blackwell knocked against the cross-bar, they were seldom dangerous. Mclnulty was not an outside right who required a great deal of subduing. Altogether, the game provided Aberdeen with a notable triumph, for which all the members of the team share the credit. The attendance of about 10,000 was below expectations, but was satisfactory considering inclement weather conditions. RECEPTION FOR VICTORIOUS TEAM. About 2000 of the Aberdeen club's supporters waited in the Joint Station for the arrival of the 8.37 pm. train from Dundee, by which the team travelled, and gave the players a rousing reception as they came up the platform. In the hall of the station they swarmed round the team, and R. Bruce, one of the heroes of the game, was lifted to the shoulders of ardent enthusiasts, and was the centre of a crowd, which made its way to the Station Square, where it was swelled by several hundred others. Thence they proceeded up the steps to Guild Street, where Bruce was restored to terra-firma. Along Guild Street and some distance up Bridge Street, the crowd followed on the heels of the players, and then dispersed gradually.
Source: Press & Journal, 11th February 1926