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The 1991 Scottish Cup Final

Motherwell v Dundee United

The 1991 Scottish Cup Final was the 106th final of the Scottish Cup, Scottish football's most renowned knockout association football competition. The match happened at Hampden Park on 18 May 1991 and was contested by Scottish Premier Division clubs Motherwell and Dundee United. The final at Hampden Park was to be both clubs' sixth appearance in the Scottish Cup Final, however with just one win amongst them, apprehension from both sides was palpable. On this event, as music to the neutrals' ears, this apprehension manifested itself an erratic, hectic celebration of goals. Few would argue that for goals and sheer drama, that this game rests above the many others.

There was unhappiness ahead of the final, Tom McLean Snr, father of the particular club managers, Jim of Dundee United and Tommy of Motherwell, died. Their sombre mood however, wasn't shown in the approach of either team on the day.

The Match

Motherwell scored first just after the half-hour, as Iain Ferguson leapt on the run to power home a header off a Jim Griffin cross. Dave Bowman drilled a low drive previous Ally Maxwell to equalise in the 55th minute, but on Motherwell's next raid, Phil O'Donnell threw himself among the flying boots to bravely head home. 2-1. 

From a Stevie Kirk lay-off, Ian Angus gunned a shot low beyond Alan Main for 3-1, but United pulled one back within two minutes when John O'Neil planted a header past Maxwell. Then, with just seconds staying, United declared a remarkable equaliser to require extra-time.

If the agony of the equaliser wasn't enough for Motherwell's Ally Maxwell, the goalkeeper had suffered what was later found to have actually been two broken ribs and a lacerated stomach, earned during an earlier collision with John Clark and, without a replacement goalkeeper readily available on the bench for Motherwell, Maxwell was forced to honour the unforgiving nature of yesteryear's brand of football and play through the misery.

Luckily for Maxwell and his teammates, simply 5 minutes after the reboot Motherwell found the resolve to forget their setbacks and score a fourth cup final goal. When Dundee United 'keeper Alan Main attempted to declare an in-swinging corner, the maelstrom of bodies in the box shackled him to the ground, leaving him flailing at its flight, allowing the ball to find its method to Motherwell's ever-willing super-sub Stevie Kirk, all set and waiting to head the ball between the shapely bodies frozen on the line and make it 4-3 Motherwell.

That would be the final record and the referee sounded the final whistle 25 minutes later. With the competition ending, the curtain fell on 39 trophy less years for Motherwell, etching into their minds and hearts permanently how it feels to be lift football's oldest trophy.