London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sat 04 May 1991 Dundee United 2 Hearts 1 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Herald ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Joe Jordan <-auth Jim Reynolds auth-> Brian McGinlay
[H French 39] ;[H French 81]
1 of 001 Scott Crabbe 76 L Premier A

French now ready to meet United's final challenge

Jim Reynolds

6 May 1991

HAMISH French, who for so long was one of the unluckiest men in Scottish football, may find that fortune will shine on him at Hampden on Scottish Cup final day a week on Saturday when Dundee United, beaten finalists on five previous occasions, meet Motherwell.

French's two goals against Hearts at Tannadice on Saturday takes much pressure off United, who now look virtually certain of third place in the premier-division and the automatic UEFA Cup place that goes with it.

Now, most attention can be turned to the final by virtue of the 2-1 win over Hearts.

A Cup-winners' cup place is United's priority and French is fresh and willing to meet the challenge.

The 27-year-old from the little village of Methlick just north of Aberdeen has taken an age to reach the big time and still is reluctant to think as far ahead as the Scottish Cup final.

"I just hope the boss thinks I'm good enough for a place," he said.

Two smashing goals on an otherwise dull Tannadice afternoon should ensure that, but for a man who has known little but disappointment since leaving the Highland League for Tannadice in 1987 nothing is being taken for granted.

I remember French's debut for United against Rangers at Ibrox four seasons ago.

He suffered a broken leg that day and since then his career has been very much a stop-start affair, so much so that he is still a fair bit away of making his one hundredth appearance for the club.

Following the leg break came knee problems and most recently a serious pelvic injury but now the player is at last beginning to enjoy himself.

On Saturday he went a long way towards solving United's scoring problems with quality goals after 38 and 80 minutes and he should have had a hat trick following a nifty run which took him up the left touchline and in along the byeline before releasing a shot which certainly did not match the skilful build-up.

"I should have squared the ball into the middle because Maurice (Malpas) and Darren (Jackson) were in a better position to score," he said.

"But it all turned out well in the end.

We badly needed a win and we gave ourselves a bit of a confidence boost.

"There are so many players fighting for a place in the cup final side that the competition is intense and I only hope I've done my chances a bit of good.

I've never played at Hampden and it would be the ideal way to round off the season but no one can take anything for granted at this club and that's the way it should be."

French's goals ended United's worst premier-division run in more than three years.

Beaten in their previous three matches -- the players suffered for complacency according to the manager -- and crippled by injuries, Jim McLean's men needed a boost as they head towards the cup final and although the actual performance was short of their normal standard, it was one of those occasions on which the result was more important.

The situation was so bad on Saturday that McLean had to take a gamble on the fitness of defender Freddy van der Hoorn, who has been suffering from a hamstring injury.

Now, the manager must wait and hope there is no adverse reaction.

"We were so short of defenders I just had to take the risk," said the manager.

McLean, however, put things in a proper perspective when he said: "In the morning I had a phone call from Dave Bowman saying that his young daughter had to be taken to hospital.

That brought home the fact that there are more important things in life than the result of a football match."

Hearts, who squeezed in a goal from substitute Scott Crabbe between French's double, looked for the most part rather jaded but they were the better side in the early stages of the match and they did squander chances during that spell which could have brought them a result.

Taken from the Herald

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