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  • St Johnstone: The View From the Opposition

    With this weekends match seeing us take on St Johnstone at Dens Park, it meant it was time for me to scour Twitter for a Saints fan to speak to.

     

    Luckily enough for us, popular fans Twitter page St Johnstone 1884 agreed to partake in a answering a few questions about how their season has went so far. Read what they had so say below!

    Everyone has a story what made them support their club. What’s yours?

    Nothing too remarkable, father and father's father etc. I was maybe quite late into it at seven or eight but my dad, like so many others, had given up on Saints a bit when they'd fallen into the bottom division. He was lured back by a midweek cup quarter-final replay against Morton and he took me along to the next home match, which was one of the final games at Muirton Park, so I consider myself fortunate to have seen Saints play a couple of games at the old ground before the move to McDiarmid.

    Despite losing in the Europa League Qualifiers at the first hurdle, St Johnstone have started this league campaign strongly at sit third in the table at the moment. Stupid question but, I take it your impressed with the first five games so far?

    Clearly no complaints about the results and the team have played very well at times but I'm not sure they've put a 90 minute performance together yet. I think it's important not to get too carried away though as it's taken some good defending at times to maintain the unbeaten run.

    You lost Danny Swanson to Hearts which must have been a blow but Tommy Wright managed to bring back Michael O’Halloran on loan. How do you rate the transfer activity that Wright has conducted this summer?

    I think the manager would have had three big targets this summer: a winger, a creative midfielder and a striker. He's said himself he got his number one choices in two of those positions - O'Halloran and Stefan Scougall - but we've not seen enough of Denny Johnstone yet to know if he can compliment Steven MacLean, or even replicate the form of Chris Kane, who was maybe strangely loaned to Queen of the South. 

    Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha commented that O’Halloran “does not have what you need to play for Rangers." He goes on loan to St Johnstone, bangs in five goals and bags Player of the Month. Do you think the club will be trying to extend his loan deal until the end of the season or even a permanent deal?

    I'd be astonished if they didn't want to keep him but what the fans and manager sometimes want isn't always what the chairman is prepared to sanction. As ever with Saints, it'll come down to money but in his current vein of form, if ever a player was worth pushing the boat out for...

    I’ll hold my hands up and admit I haven’t seen much of St Johnstone this season due to my boycott of Sportscene until we win a match but can you name one player that us Dundee fans should be weary of on Saturday?

    It's the obvious answer but it's that man O'Halloran. As well as the pace that everyone knows he possesses, he's been deadly in front of goal since his return. It can be hard for opposition managers to prepare for facing him as he's already played on the left, the right and up front this season.

    You have one choice of player that you can pick from our squad to play for the Saints. Who do you pick?

    Scott Allan is arguably a player that eleven of the managers in the league would like in their squad and even though Saints are well covered in that attacking midfield area with O'Halloran, Scougall and Wotherspoon, he's the sort of guy that fans pay to see, very similar to Danny Swanson, who was at McDiarmid last season. It's hard not to admire the commitment of a player like Cammy Kerr as well, whilst Paul McGowan is a midfielder I've always liked. I'm surprised he splits opinion as much as he maybe does amongst the Dundee support. Without naming your whole squad, the early reports on Glen Kamara seem positive as well.

    Are your surprised with the start Dundee have went on which has only seen us pick up one point from fifteen?

    It's been a tough start with Aberdeen, Rangers and Hibs and one point from those fixtures isn't a disaster but to take nothing from County or Accies was surprising. With such a large turnover of players - and so many of the new faces being unfamiliar - it was always going to be hard to predict how Dundee would do this season and I suppose it was always going to take time for a new team to gel.

    St Johnstone have always run a tight ship but have constantly produced the goods on the field with six consecutive top six finishes and a Scottish Cup win back in 2014. Considering the money that some clubs spend each year on wages etc, seeing your team achieve all of this must be considerably pleasing? 

    It does make it a bit more satisfying probably, as you know we're really having to work hard for everything we achieve. There is also a feeling that we kind of deserve our moment in the sun after suffering a relegation when so many clubs were spending crazy money at the turn of the century. It's good for the game that those days are in the past now and virtually every club seems to be on a sound financial footing.

    Is it also something that the fans now come to expect from the manager and team each season?

    I think we'll only know the answer to that when it doesn't happen and we see what the reaction is. The noises from the club every summer are still the same, to stay in the league, and I'd like to think the support in general realise we have no given right to finish in the top six. I would say though that whilst Tommy Wright remains in charge, you have to be hopeful that we can maintain current standards.

    I forgot to mention that you’ve played in Europe five times in the last six seasons. Like most Scottish clubs though, you have fallen at the qualifiers stage. Despite that, how does it feel to see regular matches against European opponents at McDiarmid Park?

    The European nights have been fantastic, albeit there have been some disappointing results. It's a whole topic in itself but it'll continue to be hard to Scottish clubs playing their first game at the end of June against teams who are maybe a dozen matches or more into their season. We keep thinking this will be the last time, then the team surprise us again though!

    Would you rate the clubs current Premiership run (including all cup competitions) as the best the club have seen in a long time or at all? 

    I think it has to be. There have been other periods of relative success in the club's history (early seventies and late nineties notably) but none as prolonged as this and none with the pinnacle of a major trophy. I feel very fortunate to be witnessing it given where the club were only 30 years ago.

    We haven’t won at all this season in the league and haven’t won at home since February. On the other hand, you lot are third in the league, two points off the top of the table. What’s your prediction for Saturdays match?

    Dundee have deservedly beaten Saints on our last three visits to Dens Park. Does that mean we are due a result, or does it mean that Dundee have our number? I try not to make predictions but would say, with our good start to the season, I think a point would be absolutely fine for Saints. I'm expecting a big performance from Dundee though with the team still searching for that first win and Saints will need to play well to take something.

     

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  • Similar Content

    • By UWTB1893
      How could a season of administration that saw us stare closure in the face, be handed a 25 point deduction that left us 20 adrift of our nearest rivals and seemingly destined for 3rd tier football for the first time in our 109 years history could turn into one of the most magical experiences of my life?
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      I really haven’t seen any other fans rally around their club in which the way we did. Granted we have the ‘Been there and done that’ t-shirt but to me, this time it was different and I actually feared that Dundee FC would become no more. But then we faced Partick at home, just after receiving the shock news of the 25 point penalty, and this is a match that will be forever etched in my mind. Not for the result, not for the goal from Jamie Adams in the dying minutes, and not even for the effort and fight the players showed on the park and would be the defining characteristic of the season. No, the thing that will stay with me forever was the atmosphere that day. Like every other team in any other country, Dundee have their share of boo boys but, for this game, they didn’t turn up. Instead they were replaced with a larger-than-average crowd of people shouting nothing but encouragement and roaring their support. I even managed to persuade a friend of mine, who is an Arab for his sins, to come along and take in the match in which he did with quiet enthusiasm, especially when the winning goal went in. From that day on _______ __________ (name deleted due to a pending superinjunction as the Arab in question seeks to preserve his credibility around Tannadice) has been constantly reminded that he Derry Rhumba’d with such passion that I think he secretly bleeds blue blood!
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      From then on I had faith that we could beat the challenges left for us by the people who had got us in this mess and those who had handed us the football equivalent of capital punishment. I believed we could, and clearly so did the players who took us on a quite incredible journey.
      Gary Harkins’ free kick and Neil McCann’s winner against Raith. Standing in the rain to see us equal the club’s unbeaten record. Seeing a lifelong Dundee fan make his debut and playing his part as the league leaders were put to the sword. Watching the loony tunes pitch invasion at Falkirk Stadium...this season had more than a touch of the fairytale about it. The team have been an absolute joy to watch and the players deserve to take their place among the greats of Dundee’s history. The run they went on to ensure that we are still here, especially the fact they had seen their mates lose their jobs and have their own futures thrown into doubt, is something that has me bursting with pride. Never before have I seen a bond between players and fans like I have here and I am proud to say that I have been a part of it.
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    • By Billy Campbell's Ghost
      DUNDEE SHATTER ORMOND'S SAINTS EUROPEAN DREAM!
      In fact Dundee probably started the trend of big tournament successes on each other’s ground when they earned the right to meet tonight's opponents St. Johnstone at Tannadice in the Semi-Final of the Scottish League Cup in season 1967/68.
      Both sides were desperate to succeed and the added spice of a local derby made it all the more intriguing.
      These Tayside neighbours both had ambitious but different motives for success that October evening in 1967.
      FOR DUNDEE - Victory would be another step towards their biggest aim - a real challenge to the Old Firm, who incidentally had both been in European finals the season before with the Lisbon Lions triumphing over Inter Milan and Rangers falling at the final hurdle to Bayern Munich in Nuremberg, only after extra-time. Heady days indeed for Scots clubs!
      FOR SAINTS - Victory would take them closer to manager Willie Ormond's dream - a place in European football.
      Ormond had primed his players well and instilled in them that they had nothing to fear from a Dundee side who had just come through a tough 1st Round Fairs Cup tie against D.W. S. Amsterdam and had already tasted Europe and wanted some more!
      Dundee had a couple of niggly injury problems with both Bobby Cox and soon to be Irish Internationalist, Billy Campbell doubtful. Campbell made it and Cox didn't, which let Doug Houston in at left back for a crucial match for both clubs.
      Before a large enthusiastic derby crowd at Tannadice on 11 October 1967, the teams were as follows:
      DUNDEE: Donaldson, R.Wilson, Houston; Murray, Stewart and Stuart; Campbell, J. Mclean, S.Wilson, G. Mclean and Bryce.
      ST.JOHNSTONE: Donaldson, McGillivray, Coburn; Miller, Rooney, McPhee; Aird, Whitelaw, McCarry, Wilson and McDonald.
      Alex Stuart, left half and captain that night, but now Dundee District Council's Leisure and Recreation Manager, recalls how remarkably once again Dundee kept their best football of the season for another big match.
      In season 1963/64 in the Scottish Cup Semi, the Dees produced a sparkling performance at Ibrox to crush Kilmarnock 4-0 to reach a final meeting with Rangers.
      'Dundee were the favourites without a doubt', Alex remembers, 'and the papers were sure Willie Ormond's dream of Europe would end against Dundee.'
      In fact Dundee were even confident of beating Celtic in the final (who absolutely stuffed Morton in the other semi 7-1! ).
      Remember by this time Celtic were European Champions and were contesting the ill-fated World Club Championship.
      The night turned out to be a personal nightmare for Saint's half-back (remember them?) George Miller.
      Saints led at half-time through a goal from Whitelaw which was one of the strangest of the season.
      Alex Stuart recalls,' I tried to pass back to Ally Donaldson but hit it far too hard and it hit off Ally and rebounded to George Stewart. He tried to clear but the ball hit off Tom Wilson and cannoned across goal for Whitelaw to head into the empty net!'
      'In the second half Dundee hit them with everything and moved swiftly into top gear with Billy Campbell in brilliant form, teasing and tormenting the Saint's defence. He was involved in both the first and second Dundee goals but the unfortunate player was undoubtedly George Miller who first sliced a clearance into his own net and then had a Campbell cross ricochet off him into the net to put Dundee 2-1 ahead.'
      Jim McLean scored late on from the penalty spot to seal things for the Dark Blues and propel them to an exciting Final clash with the European Champions.
      Miller was not to blame as Saints really didn't cash in on a good first half performance and lost their nerve as Dundee and particularly Billy Campbell piled on the pressure.
      Alex Stuart remembers Dundee manager, Bobby Ancell as a real gentleman and he wasn't big on tactics preferring instead to pick the team and let them play - changed days indeed!
      'We lost the final 3-5 to Celtic but it went down as probably the most entertaining League Cup Final ever with Dundee pushing Celtic all the way, but this was a world class Celtic side and to lose as Dundee did won them many friends.'
      Dundee's season had more great moments that year with a run to the Fairs Cup semi which thrilled Dundee fans throughout that year.
      Image Copyright Unknown

      View full blog
    • By Billy Campbell's Ghost
      DUNDEE SHATTER ORMOND'S SAINTS EUROPEAN DREAM!
      In fact Dundee probably started the trend of big tournament successes on each other’s ground when they earned the right to meet tonight's opponents St. Johnstone at Tannadice in the Semi-Final of the Scottish League Cup in season 1967/68.
      Both sides were desperate to succeed and the added spice of a local derby made it all the more intriguing.
      These Tayside neighbours both had ambitious but different motives for success that October evening in 1967.
      FOR DUNDEE - Victory would be another step towards their biggest aim - a real challenge to the Old Firm, who incidentally had both been in European finals the season before with the Lisbon Lions triumphing over Inter Milan and Rangers falling at the final hurdle to Bayern Munich in Nuremberg, only after extra-time. Heady days indeed for Scots clubs!
      FOR SAINTS - Victory would take them closer to manager Willie Ormond's dream - a place in European football.
      Ormond had primed his players well and instilled in them that they had nothing to fear from a Dundee side who had just come through a tough 1st Round Fairs Cup tie against D.W. S. Amsterdam and had already tasted Europe and wanted some more!
      Dundee had a couple of niggly injury problems with both Bobby Cox and soon to be Irish Internationalist, Billy Campbell doubtful. Campbell made it and Cox didn't, which let Doug Houston in at left back for a crucial match for both clubs.
      Before a large enthusiastic derby crowd at Tannadice on 11 October 1967, the teams were as follows:
      DUNDEE: Donaldson, R.Wilson, Houston; Murray, Stewart and Stuart; Campbell, J. Mclean, S.Wilson, G. Mclean and Bryce.
      ST.JOHNSTONE: Donaldson, McGillivray, Coburn; Miller, Rooney, McPhee; Aird, Whitelaw, McCarry, Wilson and McDonald.
      Alex Stuart, left half and captain that night, but now Dundee District Council's Leisure and Recreation Manager, recalls how remarkably once again Dundee kept their best football of the season for another big match.
      In season 1963/64 in the Scottish Cup Semi, the Dees produced a sparkling performance at Ibrox to crush Kilmarnock 4-0 to reach a final meeting with Rangers.
      'Dundee were the favourites without a doubt', Alex remembers, 'and the papers were sure Willie Ormond's dream of Europe would end against Dundee.'
      In fact Dundee were even confident of beating Celtic in the final (who absolutely stuffed Morton in the other semi 7-1! ).
      Remember by this time Celtic were European Champions and were contesting the ill-fated World Club Championship.
      The night turned out to be a personal nightmare for Saint's half-back (remember them?) George Miller.
      Saints led at half-time through a goal from Whitelaw which was one of the strangest of the season.
      Alex Stuart recalls,' I tried to pass back to Ally Donaldson but hit it far too hard and it hit off Ally and rebounded to George Stewart. He tried to clear but the ball hit off Tom Wilson and cannoned across goal for Whitelaw to head into the empty net!'
      'In the second half Dundee hit them with everything and moved swiftly into top gear with Billy Campbell in brilliant form, teasing and tormenting the Saint's defence. He was involved in both the first and second Dundee goals but the unfortunate player was undoubtedly George Miller who first sliced a clearance into his own net and then had a Campbell cross ricochet off him into the net to put Dundee 2-1 ahead.'
      Jim McLean scored late on from the penalty spot to seal things for the Dark Blues and propel them to an exciting Final clash with the European Champions.
      Miller was not to blame as Saints really didn't cash in on a good first half performance and lost their nerve as Dundee and particularly Billy Campbell piled on the pressure.
      Alex Stuart remembers Dundee manager, Bobby Ancell as a real gentleman and he wasn't big on tactics preferring instead to pick the team and let them play - changed days indeed!
      'We lost the final 3-5 to Celtic but it went down as probably the most entertaining League Cup Final ever with Dundee pushing Celtic all the way, but this was a world class Celtic side and to lose as Dundee did won them many friends.'
      Dundee's season had more great moments that year with a run to the Fairs Cup semi which thrilled Dundee fans throughout that year.
      Image Copyright Unknown
    • By UWTB1893
      The Dark Blues had been well beaten 3-0 in the first leg at the San Siro so it was always going to be an uphill task but the home side certainly made it a nervy occasion for the Rossoneris.

         

      Gianni Rivera gave Milan the lead after only fourteen minutes into the 1st leg and they would double it just five minutes into the second half when George Stewart turned the ball into his own net. The victory was all but wrapped up when Romeo Benetti netted AC Milan’s third goal with twenty minutes left to play.

      A crowd of 15,500 turned up at Dens Park on the 8th December 1971 in the hope that their heroes could do the unbelievable and knock the Italians out of the cup. In attendance that night also hoping to see Dundee defy the odds was former League winning manager Bob Shankly.

         

      Dundee would go ahead on the 38th minute when a Duncan Lambie cross was headed home by Gordon Wallace. Dundee would continue to look for the equaliser but despite the pressure they were applying to their opponents, the Dark Blues would find it hard to make another break through against a defence who would only concede seventeen goals in the league that season.

      Of course, it wasn’t just the Italians lineage of quality defending that kept Dundee at bay, it was also the blatant time-wasting tactics that they resorted to with the Dee ramping up the pressure.

         

      We would score another goal with sixteen minutes left on the clock when Duncan Lambie’s long-range drive struck the post and then fell into the path of John Duncan who slotted home the rebound to make It 2-0 and set up a grandstand finish.

      The home side would push for the goal that would take the tie into extra-time but despite a frantic last ten minutes for Milan, they were able to see out the tie to win 3-2 on aggregate and book their spot in the Quarter Finals to face Belgium side Lierse S.K. who they would beat 3-1 over both legs.

         

      This would set up a semi-final clash with eventual winners Tottenham Hotspur who would defeat the Italian side with a certain Alan Gilzean (who previously faced Milan during our run to the European Cup Semi-Final back in 1962-63) in their side.

      Even though the end of the night had seen another European campaign come to an end for Dundee, the crowd gave the players a standing ovation as they left the pitch after they had served up a performance that if we had struck earlier, could very well have went on to get the result that would have seen us and not Milan get our hats into the draw for the next round.

         

      This win however continued our undefeated streak at home in Europe since our maiden campaign in 1962/63. We had gone twelve games without a loss at home and this was our tenth victory at Dens against some of Europe’s finest teams.

      This tie also signalled AC Milan’s second visit to Dens Park and just like the first one, they would fail to score on our turf and taste defeat. Of course, on both encounters, the results at the San Siro would give us an uphill battle and eventually be the results that got them through.

      Still, isn’t nice to say that a team who have been champions of Europe seven times have played twice at Dens, lost twice and failed to score.

      Dundee Line Up
      Hewitt, B.Wilson, Houston, Steele, Philip, Stewart, Duncan, Lambie, Wallace, J.Scott (80), J.Wilson (46)
      Subs: Johnston (46), I.Scott (80)

      AC Milan line Up
      Cudicini, Sabadini, Zignoli, Anquilletti, Schnellinger, Biasiolo, Sogliano, Benetti, Bigon (46), Rivera, Prati
      Subs: Villa (46)

      Match Highlights
       
       
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