A lacklustre Dundee could have no complaints about having to share the points with bottom of the division Queen of the South at a cold and wet Dens Park tonight. The prospect of relegation seemed to give the visitors a surge of desperate energy and Dundee simply couldn't match their urgency.
The Dark Blues took the lead with a long range effort from Stephen O'Donnell but were pegged back by a late equaliser from Chris Higgins and Queens finished the stronger side.
With Matt Lockwood serving a one game suspension Rhys Weston returned to the starting line-up. He played at right back and Gary Irvine moved to the left. The changes unsettled both sides of the team. Dundee badly missed Irvine's penetrating runs up the right. The full back was comfortable in defence on the left, but in attack he wasn't able to support Ryan Conroy as Lockwood does.
Dundee struggled to build a passing game on the greasy pitch and for most of the game there was little to indicate that this was the second placed club at home to the bottom side. The first half saw plenty of long and hopeful balls, possibly in the hope of an error in the tricky conditions. On a few occasions Dundee were able to sustain a passing move that ended with a dangerous ball into the box, but each time Queens were able to scramble the ball clear.
By far the best chance of the first half fell to the struggling visitors. Gary Irvine allowed a long punt from the Queens' defence to get past him and Carmichael raced clear. Douglas rescued the Dee with a marvellous tip round the post.
Dundee came close when Ryan Conroy wisely kept his 20 yard free kick low. It skidded off the greasy pitch in front of keeper Robinson, who couldn't hold it. None of the Dundee players were able to react quickly enough and the ball was hacked clear.
Queen of the South headed straight for the Dundee goal at the start of the second half and within six seconds managed to win a corner that created a scramble in the penalty area. A dangerous looking 20 yard shot from 18 yards was deflected just wide for another Queens' corner.
Dundee had more luck with a deflection at the other end when they broke out of defence. McCluskey teed up O'DONNELL to blast a fierce shot from 25 yards. The ball took a slight deflection off Milne that left the keeper helpless and flew into the net off the underside of the bar.
Queen of the South didn't lose heart and it took a fine tackle from Gary Irvine to deny Carmichael, who seemed about to score.
Gradually Dundee started to look more comfortable on the ball and were holding possession better, with Fotheringham on for McCluskey. However, the only real threat of another goal was from long range shots. Kevin McBride hit a beautifully struck shot from 30 yards that Robinson did very well to tip over the bar. Leighton McIntosh then went close from 20 yards.
Queens were finding it harder to break through the Dundee defence, but they were able to win a steady stream of corners. The Dee didn't look particularly comfortable dealing with them, and it was no great surprise when they were eventually undone at a corner. The ball seemed to have been cleared, but was quickly swung back in by Carmichael. The defence had started to move out and were caught out by the speed at which the ball came back. Douglas came to punch, didn't get enough on the ball, and HIGGINS was able to send a header looping gently over the keeper and into the net.
Barry Smith immediately threw on his two remaining substitutes, Hyde and Riley replacing Milne and Benedictus. Gary Irvine moved to right back and Ryan Conroy shifted to left back. The change made no difference and the newcomers never got into the match.
It was Queen of the South who sparked into life after the goal and they pressed forward optimistically, hoping for the win that would have taken them off the foot of the table.
Fortunately for Dundee they couldn't create any further chances and the teams had to settle for a point apiece.
Dundee were never able to repeat the fluent attacking that brought them seven goals in the previous two games and were a long way short of their best tonight. The changes obviously disrupted the team, but that is not a good enough excuse. The players played well as a team on Saturday, but tonight they were nowhere near as effective, as individuals or collectively.
It's frustrating that Dundee couldn't repeat Saturday's confident performance against against the side at the bottom of the division. However, Queens played with far more spirit and conviction than Falkirk did on Saturday, and to be honest they showed more than Dundee did.
This was a dire and disappointing match, and only one team deserve any plaudits. That's Queen of the South.
Dundee FC 4-4-2
Weston, McKeown, Benedictus (Riley 81), Irvine
McCluskey (Fotheringham 69), O'Donnell, McBride, Conroy
Milne (Hyde 81), McIntosh
Unused subs; Gibson (gk), Chisholm
Goal; O'Donnell (52)
Bookings; McKeown (foul on Smith), Irvine (barging Alan Reid who was timewasting)
Queen of the South
Craig Reid (McGuffie 34), Higgins, Potter (McKenna 74), Alan Reid
Carmichael, Johnson, Simmons, McLaughlin (Smith 63)
Unused subs; Atkinson (gk), Reilly
Goal; Higgins (81)
Bookings; Alan Reid (foul on McCluskey), Simmons (timewasting)
Referee; John Beaton
Report; James Christie