Then and now: Where are Dundee United’s 1987 UEFA Cup Final team?


DUNDEE UNITED produced a European night to remember last night after beating AZ Alkmaar 1-0 at Tannadice.

They are one step closer to progressing to the Conference League play-off and will face either Riga FC or Gil Vicente in the next round if they make it through next week.

Kevin Gallagher during the Uefa Cup final


Kevin Gallagher during the Uefa Cup finalCredit: Getty
Dundee United fans during the UEFA Cup Final


Dundee United fans during the UEFA Cup FinalCredit: Getty

It will go down as the club’s best European result in recent years, whatever happens next week though.

But now the current United players have a chance to add their names to the list of famous players gracing the Tangerine strip.

It’s been 35 years since that historic Uefa Cup run of 1986/87 when Jim McLean guided United to the final against Swedish outfit IFK Goteborg.

They lost 2-1 across the two legs but they will go down as the greatest United team in history.

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And SunSport takes a look at those Tannadice heroes.

Here is what they are all doing these days.

Billy Thomson

Suffered a nasty gash just five minutes into the final when the outstretched boot of Lennart Nilsson collided with his head.

Thomson was the Terrors’ first-choice goalkeeper until the 1988-89 season, by which time he had played in United’s two consecutive Scottish Cup finals, winning neither.

After retiring he went into coaching, originally with city rivals Dundee before moving to Rangers for six years in 2001.

He had a part-time role with Kilmarnock for 14 years before joining Stranraer, also as a goalie coach, in July 2021, where he remains today. He is 64 years old.

Maurice Malpas

This Tannadice legend, now 60, played at Scotland for three World Cups, all while spending all of his playing career with United.

After retiring he stuck around to coach the youngsters as well.

He had full-time roles as boss of Motherwell and Swindon Town, sandwiched either side of spells as the interim boss of Scotland’s Under-21s.

Malpas had worked with Terry Butcher at Fir Park and they reunited at Hibs in 2013 before being dismissed the following summer after being relegated.

He was director of football at Raith before joining the coaching staff at Inverness Caledonian Thistle in 2017, but is now longer at the club.

David Narey (Captain)

Another Tannadice hero, who could forget his goal for Scotland against THAT Brazil team, five years prior to the final?

Jim McLean called him a “manager’s dream”, having worked with him over the course of the 872 appearances he made for United.

The talented and versatile defender was awarded an MBE by the Queen in 1992 although she infamously mixed up Dundee and Dundee United when congratulating him.

He has kept a quiet life since hanging up his boots and rarely gives interviews, instead preferring to spend his free time on the golf course or with his family.

Paul Hegarty

Criminally, Hegarty only picked up eight caps for Scotland despite a starring role in United’s glory days.

He had short spells with St Johnstone and Forfar after his time at Tanandice came to an end, becoming player-manager at the latter.

Hegarty would return to coach at United before leaving briefly to take charge of Aberdeen in 1999. He returned to Tannadice and was named full-time boss in October 2002 but left in January 2003 after just four wins in 18 matches.

Would go on to later manage Livingston and Montrose but at 68 he’s now been out of the game for six years.

John Holt

He made 406 appearances for United after signing at the age of 15 in 1973.

Holt won the Premier League, two League Cups as well as reaching the famous Uefa Cup final during 14 incredible years at United.

He became a coach once he hung up his boots, working for Deveronvale, Montrose and Celtic Women.

Holt was appointed Montrose interim boss in 2016 but left the club following Stewart Petrie’s appointment.

Now aged 65, Holt works for Dundee City Council

Despite his long and successful career at Tannadice, he was never given a proper send off as boss Jim McLean denied his request for a testimonial.

But after 35 years he is finally being honored for his services at a dinner event on September 30 at the Apex Hotel.

Jim McInally

The now Peterhead boss had only signed for the Tangerines the summer before their Uefa Cup heroics.

He scored in the first leg of their third round tie against Hajduk Split and went on to make over 250 appearances in his nine years at the club.

McInally infamously played for both United and their Dens Park rivals on two different occasions each, spending four spells in Dundee.

The defender’s form for the Tannadice outfit led him to pick up 10 caps for Scotland.

Upon retiring, he decided to go into management, taking over Sligo Rovers as player manager.

Since then he has been the Morton, East Stirlingshire and Peterhead gaffer.

He took over the reigns at Peterhead in 2011 and is STILL the head coach of the League One side, winning the League Two title on two occasions.

Billy Kirkwood

Billy Kirkwood takes a shot during the second leg


Billy Kirkwood takes a shot during the second legCredit: Getty

Kirkwood is another player whose first season at United was the famous European run.

But it was his second spell at the club after spending a decade during the late 70s and early 80s

And just like McInally, he also went on to join Dundee before ending his career, spending his final season as a player at Dens Park in 1988.


He rejoined United as manager in 1995 but failed to prevent their relegation to the second tier after Ivan Golac’s sacking during the campaign.

Now 63, he currently works for Rangers having previously been a youth coach.

Now he’s the club’s loan manager.

Dave Bowman

He signed in a joint transfer with McInally in a deal worth around £140,000 from Coventry in 1986.

Bowman picked up six caps for Scotland and spent 12 years at United, leaving in 1998 to sign for Raith Rovers.

He’s another who went on to manage upon retirement and took over both Livingston and United as caretaker in 2007 and 2015 respectively.

The 58-year-old is currently at Cardiff City as head of recruitment after being released as director of football at Ipswich.

Eamonn Bannon

The midfielder started the first match against Gothenburg but was on the bench for the return leg.

He was another national team regular, picking up 11 caps throughout his career.

Since leaving Falkirk as manager in 1996, he has lived a quiet life away from football.

He still does matchday work for the Press Association and bought the Strathallan Guest House in Edinburgh in 1997 with his wife, where he still lives.

Paul Sturrock

Paul Sturrock being inducted into Scottish Football's Hall of Fame in 2019


Paul Sturrock being inducted into Scottish Football’s Hall of Fame in 2019Credit: Kenny Ramsay – The Sun Glasgow

Nicknamed “Luggy”, he left United a legend in 1989 after spending his entire career at the club, joining in 1974.

The striker received 20 caps for Scotland during his time at Tannadice, scoring three times for the national team.

He went on to manage many teams since hanging up his boots, taking over United, St Johnstone, Southampton, Yeovil Town, among others.

Sturrock announced in 2008 that he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

But he revealed last year that he is still feeling good despite his illness.

Speaking to BBC Scotland, he said: I’ve taken up fishing, cooking and golf. I’m a social beast and enjoy myself with people,” said the former United player, coach and manager.

“Twenty-two years I’ve had it [Parkinson’s] and it’s getting slowly worse but you’ve got to be positive.

“That’s the most important thing.

“I get shakes now and then but I’m feeling good.”

Dave Beaumont

Beaumont did not make as much of an impact as others in this famous side.

He came off the bench for Sturrock in the first leg of the final though and spent 11 years at the Tangerines.

He is another player who left the game after he retired.

The striker was forced to retire in 1994 through injury and joined the police force after hanging up his boots.

Ian Redford

Joined from Rangers in 1985 and became a regular for the next three years, scoring 20 goals in 101 games.

After retiring he worked on his golf game and introduced his son to the sport. He also sold fishing holidays back home in Perthshire and published an autobiography, Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head, in 2013.

Sadly he died in 2014 and his body was discovered in a woodland in Irvine. His son Ian Jnr, then a semi-pro golfer, revealed a reader called his autobiography “the longest suicide note in history”.


Kevin Gallacher

Gallacher’s long football career was forged at Tannadice where he made his name as an exciting young winger.

Earned a move to Coventry and then onto Blackburn Rovers, with whom he won the Premier League.

Was also a Scotland regular, playing for his country at Euro 92, Euro 96 and the World Cup in 1998.

After hanging up his boots he picked up the mic and was a regular commentator and pundit for the likes of BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Scotland, Sky Sports, Setanta and Channel 5.

John Clark

One of two substitutes introduced on the night in Gothenburg before starting and scoring in the return leg, Clark spent 12 of his 17 years as a professional footballer at Tannadice.

He scored against Barcelona at the Camp Nou on the run to the final.

After retiring he spent time coaching in the East of Scotland juniors, taking charge of Gala Fairydean as player-manager between 2001 and 2004 before moving to Whitehill Welfare for a year.

Now 57, Clark was working as an air conditioning fitter as recently as 2017.

Jim McLean

One of the most iconic men in Scottish football history, never mind managers.

McLean was more responsible for United’s golden era than any single player.

He stayed on as manager at Tannadice until 1993. He had been made chairman by that point and continued in that role until his infamous run-in with BBC reporter John Barnes.

He sold his shares in the club to Eddie Thompson in 2002 and after football he had a regular newspaper column and had a play produced about him, which went on stage in 2020.

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This was against a backdrop of McLean battling dementia and he was unable to attend a performance due to his ill health.

He sadly died in December 2020, aged 83.

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