Dundee Played Their First Scottish Cup Tie Before Hogmanay Since 1894, And Happily They Will Still Be In The Cup When The New Year Arrives. Goals From Ryan Conroy And Steven Milne Allowed The Dee To See Off A Spritely Challenge From Jocky Scott's Stirling Albion At The Doubletree Dunblane Stadium After Falling Behind To Darren Smith's Goal.
The 25 point penalty imposed on Dundee last season might not have been enough to relegate them, but it ensured that they finished far enough down the First Division to have to join the cup in the 3rd round.
Dundee were unchanged from last week. Loan signing Calum Elliot was on the bench instead of Jake Hyde who is having to rest after being concussed against Morton. The Scottish Cup rule requiring clubs to name two under 21 players cost Craig McKeown his susbstitute's place, with Kyle Benedictus replacing him.
Dundee looked the better side in the opening stages, but they were hardly dominant. After some good attacks from the Dee it was the home side who took the lead thanks to poor defending at a free kick after 25 minutes.
Alan Cook's delivery from the left was firm and accurate, and Darren SMITH'S header from eight yards was a neat finish, but there is no excuse for leaving an attacker to score unchallenged from a set piece.
The Dee responded well to the disappointment and stepped up the pressure on the Binos. The equaliser took only five minutes to arrive, and what a peach it was!
Ryan CONROY stepped up to a free kick 25 yards out. He curled a beautiful shot over the defensive wall and into keeper Reidford's top left corner for his third goal in the last three games.
Dundee finished the half strongly, pressing for another goal. Ryan Conroy's volley from Riley's cross struck the inside of the post and rolled along the goal line, but the linesman's flag was up.
Conroy then flighted a good cross under the crossbar. Reidford spilled the ball under pressure from Milne, but the Binos scrambled the ball clear.
Albion started the second half brightly, but offered little penetration and Dundee were soon attacking in strength.
Calum Elliot replaced Leighton McIntosh early in the half. On debut he lasted only 30 seconds before being injured. This time he was again straight into the heart of the action. Within two minutes he had been fouled twice and booked, for diving.
Stephen O'Donnell sent a fierce shot roaring over the bar from 20 yards and Dundee's pressure paid off after an hour.
Steven MILNE'S constant harrying of the home defenders paid off when he robbed Allison, made space and placed a low shot past Reidford and into the corner from the edge of penalty area.
The Dee were flying now as they tried to kill off the game. Reidford saved brilliantly to turn Conroy's shot round the post, and Rae's header from the corner flashed over the bar.
Elliot miscued a Riley cross and then forced a good save from Reidford after hustling Thom into conceding possession.
In the last few minutes substitute Jamie McCluskey tested Reidford and O'Donnell shot wide after making space well 20 yards out.
Dundee couldn't get the goal that would have allowed the travelling fans to relax, and had to endure some frantic pressure from the Binos in injury time.
However, the home side struggled to break down the Dundee defence and offered little threat. They played some neat football in midfield, but their play became more panicky and desperate the closer they got to Rab Douglas, who never looked in trouble.
After three minutes injury time the final whistle eventually sounded to roars of delight from the Dark Blue fans.
Dundee were in charge of the game for most of the 90 minutes, but never completely subdued the spirited Binos, who kept going to the end. A third goal would have made the final stages so much easier for the fans' nerves, but Dundee just couldn't get the clinching goal in spite of constantly threatening the home goal.
This could have been a very difficult cup tie, but Dundee handled it professionally, with the glaring exception of the goal conceded. After a slow start the game turned into a good entertaining, competitive, but clean, cup tie.
The home side will be disappointed at going out of the cup so early, but there will be few complaints from the away supporters about this afternoon's game.
Dundee FC 4-4-2
Irvine, McGregor, Weston, Lockwood
Riley, Rae, O'Donnell, Conroy (McCluskey 83)
McIntosh (Elliot 53), Milne (Chisholm 89)
Unused subs; Gibson (gk), Benedictus
Goals; Conroy 30, Milne 60
Booked; Elliot (dive)
Stirling Albion FC 4-4-2
Fagan, Allison, Thom, Jacobs
Smith, McSorley, McLeish (McDonald 86), Cook (Macpherson 80)
Nicholas (Flood 66), Davidson
Unused subs; Filler (gk), Crawley
Booked; Fagan (dissent)
Goal; Smith 25
Referee; George Salmond
Report; James Christie
Research; Kenny Ross