I’ve just watched Dundee Utd be utterly dismantled by the Dutch club AZ Alkmaar in a first half that was Don’t Watch Alone stuff for the Tangerine fans. Their first leg victory was rightly hailed as an exceptional result.
But I didn’t think they’d go through.
AZ are obviously a very good side, and I don’t for one minute think that we got enough credit for beating them last season when we did. With all the focus on Ibrox’s “run to the final” our own European run wasn’t given any scrutiny at all.
Bodo is all people want to talk about.
I remember how I felt when the two draws for the Europa League qualifiers were made; even if we got through the first one, I didn’t think the second had been kind to us at all. I thought the Dutch would beat us.
They were knocked out of the Conference League eventually by … guess who? Yep, Bodo, after the Norwegians had knocked us out. They were yet another high profile scalp that the shock troops of that tournament took last year.
Their sixth place finish in Holland belies their quality.
That night at Celtic Park – a week shy of one year ago today – was the night I knew that Ange was doing something different, some special. AZ were the kind of time who we’d have lost to under Lennon, but that night we played them off the pitch.
Kyogo, who had already shown what he could do in the league, showed what he could do in Europe that night. But the whole team, and the way they played, was brilliant.
I knew if Ange got the rest of the players he wanted that we’d have something special.
The first half score-line of 5-0 is horrendous to look at, but Dundee Utd have been beaten tonight by sheer quality. There is no shame in that whatsoever, although I thought their keeper was awful and you wonder what big Siegrist would have done.
I feel genuinely sorry for Utd because they will eat an avalanche of dirt for that first half display, but they’ve simply been blown out by a vastly better equipped side and that ought to be remembered.
This is not some League of Ireland joke … they were simply overmatched.
I hope all at Tannadice keep their heads up. It’s a bad night, and it could be a very, very bad night indeed before it ends … but they should not let it interrupt their focus on the domestic business.