BY MARK GODFREY
Our dalliance with Inverness Caledonian Thistle as our Scottish Cup representatives was all too brief as they were sent crashing out of the competition by a rampant Dundee United at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.
The Taysiders stuck five past Dean Brill without reply to send Jackie McNamara’s men into a semi-final meeting at Ibrox with either perpetual crisis club Rangers or the plucky Albion Rovers, who nearly pulled off one of the Cup’s most sensational shocks but for a disputed equaliser in Govan.
United’s Nadir Ciftci netted twice before the half hour mark, taking advantage of some shockingly sloppy defending by the home side. Gavin Gunning’s emphatic penalty made it three before the break and the situation got even bleaker for Caley Thistle when Greg Tansey was shown a straight red card by referee Willie Collum for a dangerous foot-up challenge.
The Arabs added two more before an hour of play had elapsed courtesy of smart finishes by Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong. Sadly for the hosts, the afternoon got even more miserable when Marley Watkins also received his marching orders with 20 minutes remaining.
The one-sided victory puts Dundee United within spitting distance of another Scottish Cup final, having won the old trophy as recently as 2010 when they triumphed over Ross County. In this year’s other semi, Aberdeen will take on St.Johnstone in an all-Premiership affair.
The Football Pink will preview Dundee United’s chances before the Ibrox match with Rangers or Albion Rovers, which is scheduled for the weekend of April 12th and 13th. It’s a game we’re looking forward to attending (with any luck and without any clashes with work and real life), not least to see some of the most talked about youngsters in British football. We’d like to think our new charges are up to the task of reaching the final.