In what could be never be described as a flash of insight, Dundee United legend Willie Pettigrew believes the Old Firm's stranglehold on the top flight may never be broken - however he insists the Arabs can always fancy their chances in one-off cup meetings. The former Motherwell, United and Hearts striker played in an era where a number of clubs were taking on the might of the big two on a regular basis. But times have changed and Pettigrew admits silverware for his former teams will have to come in the form of the Scottish Cup or the CIS Insurance Cup. He knows what it is like to win the League Cup with successes with United in 1979/80 and 1980/81 including that special feeling when scoring (two goals in the first of those Jim McLean triumphs - a 3-0 replay win over Aberdeen). United meet Rangers in today's CIS Cup showpiece at Hampden and Pettigrew believes there is a real prospect of an upset.
He said: "When it comes to the league, I don't think we will ever see a United or Aberdeen winning it again because the depth of the squad must be there. But, when it comes to the cup, it's a one-off and there's no better example than what happened in the FA Cup in England last week when several big sides went out. Craig Levein is an intelligent manager and he knows where he is going. He'll not be going into the game on Sunday playing for a draw - he'll be looking to win it. Cup finals always seem to hinge on just one thing going for you in the game and sometimes that's all it takes. Knowing Craig from his early days at Hearts, he always had players with confidence in their own ability. And he'll have a system planned and he'll give it his best shot. It's been a long time since they won the League Cup, but they've had a change of fortunes since Craig arrived and he's definitely perked the whole thing up."
Pettigrew was a regular goalscorer at every club he served and became a United legend soon after his arrival at Tannadice. He left Motherwell to join United at the start of the 1979/80 season and, within three months, helped the club to their first major trophy success of what was to become a golden era under McLean. That first trophy came at the replay played at Dens Park and Pettigrew recalled: "We played on the Saturday at Hampden and it was 0-0. Then we went to Dens and won 3-0 quite comfortably. I don't know what happened on Saturday, it was a poor game and Jim McLean let us know it! But, in the replay, we started well and I got the first goal. Then we managed another two. That was the club's first trophy. I'd only been there since August and to win something as quickly as that was fantastic. Alex Ferguson was at Aberdeen at that time and there was a bit of a dogfight between Jim and him. I think it made his day putting one over Alex."
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