The Scottish Cup
How a family affair served up a classic
As Hampden rose to hail Motherwell and Dundee United in the 1991 Scottish Cup Final, two brothers led the teams out of the tunnel.
In tangerine was Jim McLean, Dundee United’s legendary manager. In claret and amber was Tommy, his younger brother and manager of Motherwell.
Over the ensuing 120 minutes the McLean brothers and their players would serve up one of the most extraordinary Scottish Cup Finals in history.
Dubbed ‘The Family Final’, on account of the McLean connection, this match would include no fewer than seven goals, a disallowed strike, near misses and a nail-biting period of extra-time.
It was a relentless, breathless, exhilarating affair that saw both clubs give everything and more in pursuit of a famous Scottish Cup victory.
Motherwell opened the scoring in the game and, after United levelled, managed to pull away, going 3-1 up. This third strike in the 65th minute only heightened the drama and, when John O’Neil pegged one back two minutes later, it set up a nail-biting finish.
As United attacked relentlessly and, with the Steelmen close to buckling, Darren Jackson then made it 3-3 in the 90th minute.
Still the game wasn’t over, and Maurice Malpas was left ruing a late miss before the final whistle sounded and signalled extra time.
United would continue to carve out chances. Malpas came close in the closing stages, as did the Terrors’ John Clark.
Ultimately it would be Stevie Kirk who would write his name in the history books, bulleting home to make it 4-3.
The game is remembered as a classic and, for those in Motherwell, a poignant date with two of their legendary players that day, Phil O’Donnell and Davie Cooper, both passing away suddenly and in tragic circumstances, playing the game they loved.