Four games, four wins. Dundee United have a 100% record against Barcelona in European ties. The same Barcelona that currently boasts the greatest footballer the game has ever seen.
Their first meeting came in the second round of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in the 1966-67 season
United played the reigning champions and three-time ICFC winners Barcelona. The first leg saw United get the better of Barca in Spain with a 2-1 scoreline, completing the job in Bonnie Scotland, beating the Spaniards 2-0.
United went out in the second round at the hands of Italian giants Juventus. A 3-0 loss in Turin virtually sealed the deal for the Italians, but United beat them 1-0 in Scotland in the second leg. United therefore crashed out 3-1 on aggregate.
Flying the flag in the competition for Scotland that year were also Dunfermline Athletic and Kilmarnock. Killie lost in the semi-final to the competition’s runners-up Leeds United. The Pars consolation was that they lost on away goals to eventual winners Dinamo Zagreb in the second round.
United’s second encounter against Barca was much more meaningful though
Upon United’s journey to the 1987 UEFA Cup final, they met Barcelona at the quarter final stage. A 1-0 win at Tannadice was followed up by a 2-1 win over at Camp Nou. John Clark and Iain Ferguson cemented their names in United folklore.
United trailed 1-0 on the night and 2-1 on aggregate but a late show consisting of 85th and 89th minute goals carried them onto the semi-final. They met Borussia Mönchengladbach, where they prevailed against the Germans 2-0 on aggregate.
United’s fascinating run saw them eventually lose in the final. A 1-0 defeat in Sweden at the hands of IFK Göteborg meant United had to win in Dundee. A 1-1 draw on the night (2-1 defeat on aggregate) consigned United to a runners-up place. The first Scottish team to reach a UEFA Cup final, one of three defeats a Scottish side has suffered.
Despite their defeat in the 1987 UEFA Cup final, it really is a phenomenal piece of Scottish footballing trivia. United haven’t even conceded a goal at home to Barcelona in European competition. You wonder how many sides around the world can claim a 100% European record against the five-time European champions.