Is this the greatest XI to have faced Dundee?

footballing gods like Bobby Charlton, Jimmy Greaves, Wolfgang Overath, Gianni Rivera and Paul Van Himst all dazzled under the Dens Park floodlights.

They are among the all-time greats but how many others have you forgotten?

The glory years of the 1960s and 1970s saw Dundee FC enjoy unimaginable success and contest two European semi-finals in the space of five years.

There were also unusual games including those in tournaments which no longer exist including the Texaco Cup and the Anglo-Scottish Cup in the 1970s.

Then there was English teams visiting Scotland for “glamor friends” including Manchester United in 1956 and Liverpool’s title-winning squad in 1987 and 1989.

Lifelong Dee and Evening Telegraph columnist John Brown has been looking back at some of the best-ever players that have shared a pitch with his boyhood heroes.

John has pulled together his XI of the greatest opponents to play against the Dens Parkers, along with five substitutes, in that tried and tested 2-3-5 formation.

So what do you make of John’s 1-11?

Bill Brown

Bill Brown doing what he did best back in 1960 during his Spurs days. Image: DC Thomson.

John said: “I can recall many brilliant goalkeepers having faced Dundee, but no-one really stands alone. However, former Dark Blues No. 1 Brown, signed from Carnoustie Panmure JFC, emerged as good as any.

“His transfer from Dundee to Tottenham Hotspur heralded the beginning of a very successful time for him and the London club at White Hart Lane.

“He was at White Hart Lane for seven years after leaving Dundee in 1959, winning the Double in 1961 and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1963.

“He returned to Dens Park with Spurs in a 1966 friendly to play against his former team, winning the game 3-2.”

Richard Gough

Richard Gough in action for United in a League Cup tie against Dunfermline in 1983. Image: DC Thomson.

John said: “Swedish-born Gough was a brilliant footballer and a manager’s dream – one who could play at a high level in several positions.

“With Paul Hegarty and Dave Narey operating very successfully at the heart of Dundee United’s defence, at times Gough slotted effortlessly into the right-back slot for Jim McLean’s talented outfit.

“He also had a good eye for a goal, as United, Rangers and Scotland found pleasing.”

Karl-Heinz Schnellinger

John said: “Left-back Schnellinger played for Cologne when they were routed 8-1 by Dundee at Dens Park in 1962.

“That setback did not affect his career and he participated for West Germany in his first World Cup in Sweden in 1958 at the age of 19, and also played in the 1962, 1966 and 1970 tournaments.

“He won just under 50 caps for his country and later played for Roma and AC Milan.”

Billy Bremner

Billy Bremner was the beating heart of the Leeds United and Scotland midfield. Image: SNS.

John said: “The wee right-half or inside-right was the inspiration behind Don Revie’s successful Leeds United team of the late 1960s and early 1970s, playing nearly 600 games.

“He played against Dundee in the 1967-68 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup semi-final, drawing 1-1 at Dens and winning 1-0 at Elland Road.

“Bremner was capped over 50 times for Scotland and captained his country in the 1974 World Cup in West Germany.”

Cesare Maldini

Cesare Maldini during his spell with AC Milan where he played against Dundee in 1963. Image: SNS.

John said: “This tall, elegant centre-half was the mainstay of the AC Milan defense as they defeated Dundee in the 1962-63 European Cup at the semi-final stage.

He went on to manage the Rossoneri, achieving legendary status, along with a stint as Italy boss.

“He is the father of Paolo Maldini, who also played over 20 years for AC Milan.”

Jim Baxter

Jim Baxter became a Rangers and Scotland legend. Image: DC Thomson.

John said: “Fifer Jim played against Dundee many times and was a delight to watch.

“The ball always seemed tied to his cultured left foot as he turned out for Rangers in the 1960s and he was a truly magnificent player.

“Baxter also represented the Rest of the World in the Football Association’s centenary match against England at Wembley in 1963.

“He found his real stage for Scotland in the 3-2 victory against England in 1967.”

Jimmy Johnstone

Jimmy Johnstone in action for Celtic during the Jock Stein glory years. Image: SNS.

John said: “Johnstone was another who came up against Dundee on many occasions, and more often than not ended up on the winning side.

“His mesmerizing skills and trickery was admired around the world. He won the European Cup – gaining immortality as a Lisbon Lion – and many Scottish titles and cups under Jock Stein at Celtic.

“He briefly had a spell with the dark blues at the end of his career.”

Kenny Dalglish

Kenny Dalglish in action for Scotland at Wembley. Image: SNS.

John said: “Another Celtic icon who turned out against Dundee on many occasions.

“During his time as Liverpool manager, he brought a team up to Dens to take part in George McGeachie’s testimonial game, and also played.

“One of, if not the greatest Scottish footballer of all time.”

Bobby Charlton

Bobby Charlton was arguably the greatest-ever player to pull on a Manchester United shirt. Image: PA.

“One of Bobby Charlton’s first games for Manchester United came in 1956 when he wore the famous red shirt against Dundee at Dens in a pre-season friendly,” said John.

“Not a great one to remember, though, as the home side ran out 5-1 winners, home hat-trickster George Merchant stealing the show.

“A survivor of the Munich Air Disaster two years on, he is one of England’s greatest-ever footballers, and his 106 caps and 49 international goals lay testament to that.”

Gianni Rivera

Gianni Rivera enjoyed a remarkable career with AC Milan in the 1960s and 1970s. Image: Shutterstock.

John said: “Dubbed the ‘Golden Boy’ of Italian football, he nevertheless lost on the two occasions he played at Dens Park.

“AC went down 1-0 at Dens in the semi-final of the European Cup in 1963, and also lost 2-0 in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1971.

“However, Rivera had the last laugh on both occasions as Milan comfortably won both first legs to steer their way past Dundee.”

Paul Van Himst

John said: “An eight-times winner of the Belgian league title with Anderlecht, he played in both legs as Dundee won 4-1 in Brussels and 2-1 at Dens in 1963 in the European Cup quarter-finals.

“He played over 450 times for Anderlecht and was capped on over 80 occasions for Belgium.”

Who didn’t make the cut?

Jurion was a popular draw when he arrived at Tay Bridge Station in Dundee in March 1963. Image: DC Thomson.

John said: “The bespectacled Joseph Jurion was a 64-times capped Belgian internationalist who graced Dens Park in Anderlecht’s colors in the quarter-finals of the 1962-63 European Cup.

“In the previous round, he scored the winner as Anderlecht beat and ousted five-times winners Real Madrid.”

Jimmy Greaves

John said: “One of the greatest natural strikers England has produced.

“Injury and circumstance denied him a place in the England starting XI in the 1966 World Cup Final, which they ultimately won.

“He scored a double at Dens Park as Tottenham Hotspur visited in a friendly in 1966 as part, belatedly, of the Alan Gilzean transfer deal.”

Peter Lorimer

Peter Lorimer in action against Liverpool in the 1974 Charity Shield. Image: Shutterstock.

John said: “Peter is worth inclusion as he is a Dundonian who nearly signed on at Dens Park as a youngster, but for the persuasive tongue of Don Revie.

“He was part of the Leeds side which beat Dundee in the 1967-68 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup semi-final, drawing 1-1 at Dens and winning 1-0 at Elland Road.”

Wolfgang Overath

Wolfgang Overath was one of the greatest midfield players of his generation. Image: Shutterstock.

John said: “Overath was with Cologne as a young player, but did not feature in the 8-1 European Cup thrashing at Dens Park in 1962.

“However, by the time he came back to Dens with the West Germans in 1971, he was a seasoned international and well on his way to his 80-plus caps.”

Jose Altafini

Altafini played for both Brazil and Italy during his football career. Image: Shutterstock.

John said: “Brazil-born Altafini was regarded as one of the best and most complete strikers of his generation, and as one of Serie A’s and AC Milan’s greatest-ever players.

“Notably, though, he didn’t score any as the Italians put five past Dundee in the 1962-63 European Cup semi-final first leg.”

So who would manage this side?

John said: “Kenny Dalglish is a good shout but what about the legendary Bob Shankly?

“Bob of course needs no introduction and returned to Dens as manager of Hibs.”

So what do you make of John’s selection?

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[Is this the greatest XI to have faced Dundee?]


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *