I understand fully of any Celtic fan who is not entirely keen on Dundee; our fans and their fans have very little in common. However any time I had a pre match drink around Dens the fans were always a decent sort and the team were known to do Celtic a favour or two through the years, particularly in 1986 when Albert Kidd put Hearts to the sword and ensured a never to be forgotten Celtic league title win at Love Street. There were also times when they gave us a few sore ones, particularly on a horrible spring day in 1980 when relegation bound Dundee cuffed Celtic 5-1; not a pleasant memory to have.
Ironically, my favourite game at Dens Park was a Scottish Cup replay against Aberdeen in 1987 when a neutral venue was required to find a winner. The old enclosure shed was much appreciated that night in the torrential rain as the Dons’ fans stood in the un-roofed terracing behind the goal open to all the elements. Brian McClair won the tie for Celtic in front of a capacity 22,000 crowd and what a game it was, a typical blood and thunder Scottish Cup tie against a fine Aberdeen side from that period.
Older Celts will fondly recall many a win at Dens and perhaps the 8-1 thrashing in 1971 and the 6-0 win in 1974 will stay in the memory more than most. By all accounts Bertie Auld was the orchestrator of the former game and Kenny Dalglish the architect of the latter.
Some of us have fond memories of big Tam Gemmell being Dundee manager and our own Jimmy Johnstone teaming up with a young Gordon Strachan on Dundee’s right flank in the late 1970‘s. Hope Jinky was ‘a right good team mate’, as they say.
There has forever been talk of a merger of the two Dundee clubs but as the late Bob Crampsey always maintained, you can have two teams in Dundee – or none. The histories and traditions of both clubs have gone on too long for people to change. However, ground sharing may be the one great hope for both Dundee clubs in the long run and should be considered accordingly.
Dundee’s misfortune increased over the years as the likes of Ron Dixon, Angus Cook and the Marr brothers took control of the club at different times, promised the earth and then disappeared into the wilderness when their plans failed to materialise.
Things currently look black for Dundee and as a fellow football fan I can appreciate their fans’ concern and anxiety and I sympathise with their plight. If Mr Melville is as rich as he claims then perhaps he should do the decent thing and ensure the club’s survival even in the short term.
It’s not so long ago that Celtic were stranded in such similar murky financial waters and there are many of us who can empathise with what Dundee are currently enduring. The coming days and weeks will be difficult for Dundee and their supporters. I wish them well.