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  1. The Dark Blues only change to the starting line-up was Kosta Gadzhjalov retaining his place after coming on for Julen Etxabeguren when the Basque defender was badly injured against Partick. Saints made two changes; Tom Scobbie and Graham Cummins came in for Steven Anderson and Keith Watson. Dundee started confidently, moving the ball around promisingly, whereas Saints struggled to hold onto the ball. However, the Dark Blues offered no threat, and as soon as Saints managed to get the ball into the Dundee penalty area they looked dangerous. With just four minutes gone the Dundee defence went missing when Steven MacLean’s cross found Graham Cummins unmarked eight yards out, but the header was weak and straight to Scott Bain. St Johnstone soon worked out that quick, long balls aimed at their strikers would pay dividends and this route brought two goals. After 11 minutes a long ball found Cummins wide in the penalty area, and he headed back into a gaping space in the centre of the penalty area for Paul PATON to run in and head past Bain. Seven minutes later another long ball was headed on by MacLean for Blair ALSTON to run on and score with a fierce, low shot from 18 yards. In between the two goals Danny Swanson went close with a dipping shot from the edge of the penalty area as Dundee’s defence struggling to close down Saints. Dundee were playing some neat but ineffective football; they couldn’t put together any moves that troubled the home defence. It wasn’t a case of poor final balls; the Dark Blues might have been dominating possession, but they weren’t getting into positions to play dangerous passes or crosses into the Saints’ penalty area. St Johnstone played the first half hour like the away team, sitting back, keeping tight and looking dangerous on the break. In the last 15 minutes of the half they opened up and played their best football of the afternoon. The Dark Blues were surprisingly hesitant in defence as Saints passed their way into good positions. Swanson ended a smooth break with a wayward volley. Bain had to touch over a MacLean drive and Richard Foster sent a low drive narrowly wide at the end of Saint’s best move of the match Dundee started the second half on the front foot and a lengthy, probing attack ended with James Vincent’s fierce angled shot being parried by Zander Clark. That was one of the few times in the match that Dundee managed to get through to Saints’ keeper. Without playing as well as they had in the latter stages of the first half St Johnstone were controlling a messy match. Paton sent a snap shot just past the post from 25 yards, and Saints made a mess of a chance to kill off the Dee with a fast break from a Dundee corner. For once they were over-elaborate and MacLean failed to get a shot in. Faissal El Bakhatoui came on for Henrik Ojamaa 10 minutes after the interval, and Danny Williams replaced Craig Wighton for the last 20 minutes. El Bakhtaoui connected cleanly with a Williams’ free kick but his goalbound volley spun off a defender and wide. That was after 82 minutes, and the remainder of the match was devoid of incident as Saints held Dundee off comfortably. The home side might have shown more ambition on the break to chase a third goal, but they had no need to take any chances. Dundee were a long sort of their best, or even an acceptable standard, when they had the ball today. Too many passes went astray. For long periods the only passes that found their man were simple, safe passes that gave Saints plenty of time to react. Whenever the Dark Blues tried to penetrate Saints with faster, more penetrating passing they invariably lost possession. The game had three distinct phases, and St Johnstone were in control of each, even when the Dark Blues were returning meaninglessly impressive possession stats. Saints went long in the first half hour, posing problems that the Dundee defence couldn’t handle. Towards the end of the half they varied their approach and attacked with some good and dangerous passing. Fortunately for the Dee they didn’t sustain that quality of play after the break, but they ensured that the game was played on their terms. The whole of the second half was a technically poor affair; there was little entertainment, but Saints’ pressing, battling and organisation ensured that they always benefitted from the constant breakdowns in play. Frustratingly Dundee couldn’t repeat any of the high tempo, intense passing and attacking that was so exciting only a fortnight ago at Motherwell. Today they fell a long way short of the standard they set for themselves that day, and that was deeply disappointing for fans, coaching staff and players alike. St Johnstone 4-4-2 Clark Foster, Scobbie, Shaughnessy, Easton Alston (Thomson 88), Paton, Craig, Swanson (Davidson 77) MacLean, Cummins Unused subs: Mannus (gk), Smith, Watson, Hurst, Hunter. Goals: Paton (11), Alston (18). Booked: MacLean (foul on Kerr). Dundee FC 4-4-2 Bain Kerr, Gadzhalov, O’Dea (c), Holt O’Hara, McGowan, Vincent, Wighton (Williams 72) Ojamaa (El Bakhtaoui 55), Haber Unused subs: Ferrie (gk), Hateley, Ross, Klok, Gomis. Booked: O’Hara (foul on Easton), El Bakhtaoui (simulation), Williams (foul on Alston). Attendance: 4,195 (1,426 Dees). Referee: Andrew Dallas. Assistants: Alan Mulvanny, Andy Milne. Fourth official: Craig Napier. Report: James Christie.
  2. The Dark Blues made two changes to the side that lost at Firhill on Wednesday. Mark O’Hara and Faissal El Bakhatoui came in for Darren O’Dea and James Vincent. There were three changes to the St Johnstone team that drew at home to Rangers. Murray Davidson, Danny Swanson and Liam Craig replaced David Wotherspoon, Chris Millar and Graham Cummins. Saints started the game on the front foot and the first few minutes were spent entirely in the Dark Blues’ half. Once Dundee got their game going they quickly looked dangerous, with some good movement, running and passing as they attacked. Faissal El Bakhatoui was looking skillful and confident, and he put the Dee ahead after 14 minutes at the end of a swift counter attack. Julen Etxabegerun won the ball 30 yards from Dundee’s goal. Mark O’Hara and Paul McGowan quickly switched play forward to Marcus Haber wide on the right. He hit a hard, low cross beyond Brian Easton’s despairing lunge and EL BAKHTAOUI swept the ball past Zander Clark at the near post. St Johnstone might have found a quick equaliser from Blair Alston’s 30 yard free kick, but the ball rebounded from the crossbar and the Dee escaped. After that let off play swung from end to end with Tom Hateley shooting too high from Marcus Haber’s knock down and Murray Davidson sending a diving header over the bar from Richard Foster’s dangerous cross. Saints were never again as close to scoring as Dundee’s defence put in a sterling performance in the absence of skipper O’Dea. St Johnstone settled into a lengthy spell in which they dominated possession without troubling Dundee while the Dark Blues always looked capable of creating danger on the break and from set pieces. Saints had survived a few hairy moments from Dundee crosses, but on 42 minutes there was no escape. Tom Hateley’s free kick was cleared only as far as Paul McGowan who knocked it back into the penalty area. Marcus Haber played a delightful pass with his chest to Kosta GADZHALOV in space, and the defender had time to take aim before lashing a ferocious scoring shot past Clark. The second half got off to a frantic start with both sides looking dangerous. A long range Hateley shot broke to Haber, 10 yards from goal, but a quick challenge by Easton diverted the shot over the crossbar. Chris Kane had come on for Saints at the start of the half, replacing Liam Craig, and his shot took a huge deflection that forced Bain to move smartly to touch the looping ball over the bar. St Johnstone were still very much in the game, and if they had scored at this stage the result might have been very different. Happily it was the Dee who notched the next goal after 56 minutes, and that more or less sealed the win. Mark O’Hara made a huge contribution to that vital third goal which put the match beyond Saints. Paul Paton tried to spring a counter attack, but O’Hara nailed him with an excellent tackle. He had the presence of mind to leap to his feet and play Tom Hateley into space on the right. Hateley drove a fierce low cross into the goalmouth and, with Marcus Haber lurking, Steven Anderson lunged at the ball, diverting it past Clark and into his own net. Both goalkeepers then had to pull off good saves from long range shots in quick succession; Zander Clark foiled Paul McGowan, and Scott Bain turned away Murray Davidson’s powerful effort from 25 yards. St Johnstone became increasingly desperate to try and get back into the game, but Dundee’s defence held firm. When Dundee did break forward they always looked capable of adding to their lead. El Bakhtaoui was revelling in the extra space once St Johnstone started chasing a goal. He showed lovely skill to make space, and his dipping, swerving shot from 22 yards brought a fine save from Clark. Nick Ross replaced Mark O’Hara for the last 16 minutes, and the home fans rose to their feet to applaud the efforts of the young midfielder, who had demonstrated his value to the team with a display full of energy, power and also skill. After his lengthy spell on the sidelines through injury and an impressive amount of hard running it was no surprise to see him eased out of the action. Saints kept plugging away, but Dundee’s defence offered them nothing. Brian Easton sent a powerful header from a corner a couple of feet wide. Yet another fast break out of defence by Dundee ended with Haber dummying over El Bakhtaoui’s pass and freeing McGowan, who shot wide from the edge of the penalty area when he should perhaps have taken a touch to steady himself. Three minutes from full time Faissal El Bakhtaoui was withdrawn to another standing ovation. The Frenchman has always looked a good footballer, but today he was highly effective and delighted the fans with his cheeky skills and clever link-up play. Dundee certainly played well today, but St Johnstone were nowhere near as bad as the scoreline suggests in an enjoyable match. They had lots of the ball, but struggled to do much with it against a determined defence that never lost its shape or concentration. Dundee on the other hand were able to move the ball quickly and effectively through the midfield, in stark contrast to the defeat against Partick Thistle, and often had Saints defence on the back foot. Games between Dundee and St Johnstone are usually very close, and Dundee’s win was the biggest in this fixture since Saints’ 7-2 New Years Day win 20 years ago. You have to go back 35 years to find the last time that the Dark Blues won by three goals. The margin of victory might have been harsh on Saints, but Dundee used their more limited possession much more impressively, took their chances well and defended superbly. The clean sheet was particularly pleasing after Darren O’Dea had to call off. Today’s win was the perfect way to sign off the year and go into the mid-season break on a high. Dundee FC 4-2-3-1 Bain Kerr Etxabeguren, Gadzhalov, Holt Hateley, McGowan (c) El Bakhtaoui, O’Hara, Wighton Haber Unused subs: Mitchell (gk), Loy, Duffy, Williams, Ross, Curran, Waddell. Goals: El Bakhtaoui (14), Gadzhalov (42) (Anderson o.g. 56). Booked: Kerr (foul on Swanson). St Johnstone 4-5-1 Clark Foster, Shaughnessy, Anderson (c), Easton Swanson, Paton (Wotherspoon 61), Davidson, Alston, Craig (Kane at half time) MacLean (Cummins 71) Unused subs: Mannus (gk), Scobbie, Millar, Watson. Booked: Paton (foul on O’Hara), Swanson (foul on Kerr). Attendance: 6,492 (1,523 Saints fans). Referee: Don Robertson. Assistants: Alan Mulvanny, Ivan Stankovic. 4th official: Greig Aitken. Report: James Christie.
  3. Dundee made two changes from last week. Darren O'Dea returned from injury, replacing Kosta Gadzhalov in central defence, and Nick Ross came in for the injured Mark O'Hara in midfield. Saints' only change was David Wotherspoon starting instead of Blair Alston. The match got off to a slow start and never really picked up in a first half during which neither side looked sharp enough to deserve the lead or lift the fans from their seats. In the early stages Saints were moving marginally more smoothly, but without penetrating a capable Dark Blue defence. The nearest the home side came to an early breakthrough was when Steven MacLean peeled off beyond the far post to head Brian Easton's deep cross back across goal, but Scott Bain grabbed the ball to snuff out the danger. Dundee graduallly stepped up their game, pressing more effectively in midfield and for a few minutes showed some promise with some neat passing. The Dee passed up a great chance at the end of their best move of the half after 12 minutes. With only keeper Zander Clark to beat from 12 yards Yordi Teijsse shot straight at the goalie after Paul McGowan had raced into the penalty area on the end of a clever pass from Faissal El Bakhtaoui. When Liam Craig handled just outside Saints' penalty area Clark had to push Tom Hateley's free kick round the post for a corner. After this brighter spell from Dundee the match swung back in Saints' favour, without the hosts ever looking really convincing. Murray Davidson caused a scare in the Dee penalty area when defensive hesitation allowed him to nick the ball but his pass flew across goal without finding a Saints player. The Dark Blues raced to the other end, with Danny Williams bursting into the box, creating space for El Bakhtaoui to have a go, only for his shot to be deflected for a corner. After that flurry of excitement the game drifted disappointingly to the half time whistle. Danny Swanson, who was Saints most creative and dangerous player, tried a shot from 20 yards that Bain took easily, and that was the only noteworthy incident in the last 15 minutes of the half. Shortly before half time Faissal El Bakhtaoui, who had been guilty of losing possession too often, needed treatment and was replaced by Michael Duffy. The Dark Blues started the second half in promising fashion, putting Saints' defence under pressure with James Vincent and Tom Hateley both having shots blocked. Nothing came of this spell, however, and the match soon settled back into a scrappy battle with neither defence looking in any trouble. Ominously for Dundee the midfield and forwards couldn't hold the ball and the Dundee defence was having more work to do than their hosts. Swanson had another effort from distance that Scott Bain had to take at the second attempt. After looking solid in defence for the first hour the Dark Blues' defence conceded a bad goal from a set piece. Liam Craig's free kick from the right found Steven ANDERSON running in unmarked at the far post, and the Saints' captain scored with a well taken volley. The Dark Blues couldn't afford to concede the first goal when they are going through this poor spell and never looked like saving the game. St Johnstone's defence was always well organised, and the midfield pressing meant that Dundee invariably ended up turning backwards or losing the ball. The harder the Dee chased an equaliser the more space Saints had to play and go for a second goal. That came from the penalty spot, though the award was softer than a half boiled egg. Kevin Gomis and Steven MacLean both went up for a cross, both missed, and Mr Dallas pointed to the spot. Danny SWANSON scored, and the points looked safe for Saints. Michael Coulson nearly added a third goal straight after coming off the bench, but his looping header from Swanson's dinked cross came back off the crossbar. Dundee tried hard to get back into the game, but Saints held them off comfortably and looked more likely to pick the Dee off on the break and score again. It was something of a surprise when the normally reliable home defence gave the Dee some hope by conceding a daft penalty after 87 minutes. Anderson used to hands to push Yordi Teijsse in the back as they challenged for a long throw. Rory Loy had come on for Tom Hateley, and he scored emphatically from the penalty spot. In the three minutes of injury time Dundee camped out in the Saints' half. The ball pinged around the home penalty area a few times, but apart from an O'Dea header that was hacked out of the six yard box, St Johnstone's defence always looked in control of the situation. That very late charge was the only time in the match that St Johnstone were under any real pressure, and they held on for a win they deserved. They did not play fluent or exciting football today, but they were able to stop Dundee creating any real danger, especially in the second half, and calmly took advantage of the mistake which gave them the vital opening goal and turned the match decisively in their favour. St Johnstone 4-4-2 Clark Foster, Shaughnessy, Anderson (c), Easton Craig, Wotherspoon, Davidson, Swanson (Paton 88) Kane (Coulson 79), MacLean Unused subs: Mannus (gk), Alston, Millar, Gordon, Cummins. Goals: Anderson (61), Swanson (74 pen) Booked: Davidson (simulation) Dundee FC 3-5-2 Bain Gomis, O'Dea (c), Holt Hateley (Loy 75), McGowan, Vincent, Ross (Wighton 62), Williams El Bakhtaoui (Duffy 41), Teijsse Unused subs: Mitchell (gk), Etxabeguren, Gadzhalov, Kerr. Booked: Holt (foul on Davidson), Gomis (foul on MacLean) Goal: Loy (87 pen) Attendance: 3,646. Referee: Andrew Dallas. Assistants: Graham Chambers, Andy Milne. Fourth official: Willie Collum. Report: James Christie.
  4. The Dark Blues fielded an unchanged line-up, with even the same seven substitutes that were named against Dumbarton in the Scottish Cup. Saints made two changes to central midfield; Murray Davidson and Simon Lapping replaced Chris Millar and Liam Craig. Dundee were on the attack right from the first whistle. In the first minute smart play between Kane Hemmings and Greg Stewart gave Gary Harkins a chance from the edge of the penalty area, but he missed the target. Another lovely move saw Harkins and Hemmings combine for Stewart to flash a shot wide. Saints gave the Dee a scare with a fast break from defending a corner, but Darnell Fisher shot well over the bar from 20 yards. The Saints defender was then left badly exposed when facing Hemmings with no cover. The Dee's top scorer neatly evaded him but shot beyond the far post. Dundee deservedly took the lead after 20 minutes. Yet more patient attacking ended with Nick Ross finding Stewart, who lost his man cleverly and cracked in an 18 yard shot that Alan Mannus couldn't hold. Showing great striker's instincts HEMMINGS was instantly on the scene to smack the loose ball into the net for a real poacher's goal. The Dark Blues remained firmly in charge for the rest of the game. Whereas Saints struggled to keep the ball and make positive passes Dundee were holding possession and playing a clever and effective passing game. The Dark Blues' attacks were always imaginative and pressed home with great determination. St Johnstone managed to hold on till half time without conceding again. They started the second half strongly, pushing Dundee back for the first few minutes. The nearest they came to a chance, however, was a good low cross by Wotherspoon that zipped across goal. Whereas Saints' attacks were laboured, the first time Dundee moved forward after the break they ripped through the Perth defence to score an excellent second goal. Gary Harkins caught Danny Swanson napping in midfield and helped himself to the ball. He quickly sent HEMMINGS racing into the penalty area to smash home a superb angled finish from 16 yards. It was the sort of goal that makes Dark Blues' supporters very relieved the transfer window is shut! Dundee remained in impressive control, dominating Saints all over the park. Stewart should have made it three when he danced into the penalty area and shot agains the underside of the crossbar. Late on Saints had a short spell of pressure, but they lacked the composure to give Dundee serious problems. Their use of the ball was consistently poor and their attacks usually ended with a dreadful final ball. Substitute Liam Craig did force a save from Scott Bain with an angled drive, and Darnell Fisher's long range effort had to be tipped over the bar by the Dee keeper. The closing minutes were spent with Dundee holding the ball coolly and probing for a third goal they would have richly deserved. Saints, on the other hand, wasted possession when the ball did come their way. Dundee were impressive all through the team tonight. They maintained a high standard of performance for the whole match, keeping their focus right to the end to ensure they recorded a welcome clean sheet. The Dee's attacking was a joy to watch, but the two holding midfielders deserve special praise. Paul McGowan and Nick Ross were superb in that area, breaking up Saints' moves, holding the ball, and starting wave after wave of Dark Blue attacks. They were often outnumbered in central midfield, but they dominated their opponents and contributed hugely to a comfortable victory that takes the Dee into fifth place. It might just have been a 2-0 win, but Dundee were much better tonight than that mundane scoreline suggests. Dundee FC 4-2-3-1 Bain McGinn, Konrad, O'Dea, Holt McGowan, Ross Stewart, Harkins (c)(Etxabeguren 85), Loy (Low 81) Hemmings Unused subs: Mitchell (gk), Arturo, Gadzhalov, Kerr, Wighton Goal: Hemmings (20, 51) Booked: O'Dea, Stewart St Johnstone 4-4-2 Mannus Fisher, Shaughnessy, Anderson, Scobbie Wotherspoon (Craig 59), Davidson, Lappin, Swanson MacLean (c)(Kane 68), Cummins (Sutton 68) Unused subs: Clark (gk), Doyle, Millar, Thomson Booked: Fisher, Cummins, Davidson, Swanson Referee: Craig Thomson. Assistants: Alan Mulvanney, Graeme Leslie. 4th official: Greg Aitken. Attendance: 4,876 (677 Saints fans) Report: James Christie
  5. Dundee made only one change following their draw at Tynecastle. Nicky Low replaced Kevin Thomson. Saints went with the same players that secured their fourth consecutive league win at Tannadice. The Dark Blues got off to a flying start and in the first two minutes Rory Loy and Kane Hemmings both forced saves from Saints' keeper Allan Mannus. Each time the keeper needed two goes at grabbing the ball. Mannus had no chance when the Dee took the lead after three minutes. Greg Stewart turned a lovely pass on for HEMMINGS to stride on and lash a low shot into the corner of the net from 20 yards. The travelling supporters were delighted with the Dark Blues performance as the midfield snapped into their game and provided plenty of possession for the front three. The forwards were moving and combining well with Saints struggling to contain them. Saints equaliser was something of a surprise. The Dark Blues defence had barely been in the game in the first 10 minutes. The home side's early attempts to attack had misfired but they put their game together perfectly to open up the Dark Blues in their first serious attack. Kane released O'Halloran on the right and he cut in to set up David WOTHERSPOON to score from 12 yards off the underside of the crossbar. The goal transformed the game, lifting Saints out of the doldrums. They were now looking much more like the form side that has been climbing the league over the last few weeks. Dundee were pressed back for 10 minutes, which they endured without allowing Saints any further chances. Saints purple patch came while the rain was lashing down. After weathering the Perth storm the Dark Blues came back strongly as conditions improved. Greg Stewart was combining well with Loy and Hemmings, and Stewart had a couple of shots at the end of neat moves without troubling Mannus. The home keeper's most difficult moment late in the first half was from a short backpass by Steven Anderson. Mannus just beat Loy in the race for the loose ball. An enjoyable first half ended with play surging from end to end as both teams gave their supporters something to cheer. The Dark Blues looked the sharper side when the game restarted, but in spite of some pleasing, early attacking play there was little for Allan Mannus to worry about. In fact, neither goalkeeper had to make a save till Mannus parried a late shot from Stewart. Dundee's dominance lasted only a few minutes and both teams were evenly matched for the last 40 minutes of the match. There were regular flashes of creativity but for the most part the two teams were cancelling each other out. Neither team was able to recreate the incisive attacks that had produced the first half goals. Alltoo often promising opportunities petered out on a tricky pitch that was cutting up badly. Gary Harkins replaced Nick Ross midway through the second half. After 74 minutes Thomas Konrad came on for the injured Julen Extabeguren. Dundee continued to play some neat football, without either opening up Saints or looking like losing a goal. Riccardo Calder came on for the last 15 minutes during which he had a couple of good runs and crosses. A draw away to a team in terrific form is certainly a good result, and there was plenty to admire in Dundee's performance. The defence was sound and the midfield was hard working and linking well with the forwards, who all looked dangerous in spells. This away point was not earned by sitting back and grinding out the draw. Dundee came to McDiarmid Park and tried to win against a good side. A draw was a fair result for both sides, neither of whom can have any complaint about the outcome. St Johnstone 4-3-3 Mannus Shaughnessy, Mackay, Anderson, Easton Millar, Davidson, Wotherspoon O'Halloran, MacLean (Thomson 83), Kane (Sutton 74) Unused subs: Clark (gk), Scobbie, Caddis, Fisher, Hurst Goals: Wotherspoon (12) Booked: Wotherspoon (foul on Loy), Easton (dissent) Dundee FC 4-3-3 Bain McGinn, McPake, Etxabeguren (Konrad 74), Holt Low (Calder 77), Ross (Harkins 65), McGowan Stewart, Loy, Hemmings Unused subs: Mitchell (gk), Irvine, Meggatt, Gadzhalov Goal: Hemmings (3) Booked: Etxabeguren (foul on Kane), McGowan (handball), Stewart (dissent) Referee: Alan Muir. Assistants: Alasdair Ross, Stuart Hodge. 4th official: Steven Kirkland. Attendance: 4,578 (1,170 Dees) Report: James Christie
  6. Dundee made two changes from the team that drew at Tannadice. Kevin Thomson hadn't recovered from injury and Rory Loy was suffering from a recurrence of the groin injury that kept him out of the Hearts game. Paul McGowan and Nicky Low therefore started for the Dee. St Johnstone made three changes, ex-Dee Dave MacKay replaced Brad McKay in central defence while Chris Millar and Steven MacLean came in for David Wotherspoon and John Sutton in midfield and attack. Saints started the match well, carrying a real threat as they came forward, especially through O'Halloran on the right. However, with less of the ball the Dark Blues were equally dangerous and the Dee should have gone ahead after only two minutes. Kane Hemmings robbed Easton to set up a fast attack, but Greg Stewart volleyed McGowan's cross into the ground, giving Mannus a far easier save than he was expecting. Skipper James McPake showed exactly how to hit a volley when he opened the scoring after 15 minutes. Saints failed to deal with Nicky Low's left wing corner, and Tuesday's last gasp hero scored with a perfect left foot volley into the roof of the net from only six yards out. The goal transformed the game and the Dark Blues moved up a gear to take control. Low was having a marvellous debut, chasing like a terrier when Saints had possession, and always available and using the ball cleverly when the Dee were on the attack. The newcomer came close with an 18 yard shot that zipped just over the bar after the referee Mr Clancy played a good advantage when Nicky Ross was fouled. Low set up another attack with his energetic pressing and Harkins curled his shot narrowly wide. Another sweeping move ended with Greg Stewart teeing up the ball for Paul McGinn to blast a shot over Mannus's bar from 16 yards. Saints nearly nicked a shock equaliser when Cummins took Craig's pass on the volley, sending the ball over Bain and under the bar. Or that was the plan, and it was what everyone in the ground was expecting, only for Scott Bain to pull off an astonishing save. Cummins held his head in his hands, hardly able to believe the quality of Bain's goalkeeping. This was a save every bit as good as Bain's injury time heroics in the derby! Dundee endured a tricky few minutes when Saints were able to get O'Halloran into the game, but the defence, and Kevin Holt in particular, were dealing better with Saints danger man. The Dark Blues soon reasserted control, taking advantage of Saints midfield sitting back covering the defence rather than pressing higher up the pitch. This gave the Dundee midfield plenty of time and space to build dangerous attacks. Dundee's play in midfield was sufficiently intelligent and skillful to open up the Saints defence and Saints couldn't afford to allow the Dark Blues to play the game their way so easily. Stewart broke well on the right, and Hemmings should have done better than a loose shot over the bar. Stewart was more accurate when Harkins' pass opened up the defence, but Mannus saved well. Dundee's second goal was no surprise and featured a superb assist by Nicky Low. St Johnstone had a corner, and when it was cleared Low seized on a careless pass to spring clear down the left wing. His cross had perfect pace and accuracy for HEMMINGS to guide a scoring header from 10 yards back across the helpless Mannus. The Dark Blues finished the half well on top and playing delightful football. Not surprisingly Saints changed their game at half time and started to press Dundee further up the park. St Johnstone did manage to get the ball into the net through Liam Craig only a minute into the half. However, MacLean's push on Nick Ross to set up the chance was so obvious that it was no surprise the goal was disallowed. The Dark Blues were quickly back on the attack but Mannus saved well from Stewart after Hemmings skipped past MacKay on the left. It was an important save because Saints were soon just a goal adrift. O'Halloran showed great skill and perseverance to reach the byline and MACLEAN hooked his cutback past Bain. The next chance fell to Hemmings, who missed by a couple of yards after Harkins clever pass had given him the chance to shoot. Midway through the second half James McPake limped out of the game, seemingly with an injured knee. Thomas Konrad came on and settled into his defensive duties alongside Etxabeguren so effectively that Saints failed to carve out another chance after their goal. The visitors had plenty of possession and some spells of intense pressure, but Scott Bain's duties were restricted to impeccable handling of crosses and some routine administration of optimistic shots from distance. Nicky Low took a knock and was replaced by Darryll Meggatt after 73 minutes. Low left the pitch to a well deserved standing ovation after an excellent first start for the Dee. Dundee were now playing with three central defenders, and both full backs pushing forward providing width. The balance of play was even, but the Dark Blues carried far more penetration than Saints, and they should really have sealed the victory with a third goal. Mannus again pulled off a good save at full length to defy Stewart, who had attempted one of his trademark curling left foot shots from the edge of the penalty area. Stewart and Hemmings then sliced open St Johnstone's defence to leave the unmarked Ross with a great chance only 10 yards out, but the midfielder hit his shot straight at Mannus. Ross was having a fine game in midfield, but he will be disappointed with his finishing because he then missed an even better chance. Stewart and McGinn had ripped through Saints' defence and the full back's pass offered Ross a tap in, but he took a fresh air shot. Dundee weren't punished for these misses because the hard working defence and midfield didn't let their concentration slip for a second, and Saints didn't have any dangerous attacks in the closing stages. Meggatt put in a sound performance for the 20 minutes he was on the pitch, adopting an admirable robust and sensible approach, winning the ball aggressively and taking no chances in possession. St Johnstone will surely be disappointed they couldn't exploit their goal to build momentum and create further chances. Their pressing made it harder for Dundee to play their chosen game, but when Dundee started to get to grips with O'Halloran's threat Saints struggled to find an alternative route to goal. Over the full 90 minutes Dundee were well worth the win. When they were on top they were carving open Saints defence impressively. When Saints had their best spells Dundee's rearguard kept their heads and were never as exposed as the visitors' defence. Yet again Dundee played some delightful passing football in attack, and it was great to see Dundee carry such danger against such experienced, well organised and stuffy opponents. Any win against St Johnstone has to be fought for and earned. Today Dundee did all that was required to master their neighbours down the A90, and it was very pleasing to see the new players fitting in so well again. Dundee FC 4-4-2 Bain McGinn, McPake (Konrad 62), Etxabeguren, Holt McGowan, Harkins, Ross, Low (Meggatt 73) Hemmings (Tankulic 78), Stewart Unused subs: Mitchell (gk), Irvine, Ferry, Carreiro Goals: McPake (15), Hemmings (38) Booked: McPake (foul on O'Halloran), Stewart (stopping free kick being taken), Harkins (foul on Millar) St Johnstone 4-4-2 Mannus Shaughnessy, Dave MacKay, Scobbie, Easton O'Halloran, Davidson, Craig (Lappin 61), Millar Cummins (Sutton 70), MacLean (Kane 77) Unused subs: Clark (gk), Wright, Brad McKay, Caddis Goal: MacLean (53) Booked: none Referee: Kevin Clancy Assistants: Andrew NcWilliam, Michael Banks. 4th official, Andrew Dallas Attendance: 6,176 (955 away fans) Report: James Christie
  7. Dundee made three changes from Wednesday night's derby victory. Kevin Thomson and James McPake had to drop out, and were replaced by Simon Ferry and Iain Davidson. Paul Heffernan moved to the bench and David Clarkson started. The early stages could not have been more different from the blood and thunder of the derby. With both sides passing the ball around cagily in midfield neither goalkeeper had anything to trouble them in the first 20 minutes. Greg Stewart was looking dangerous on the left and had the Saints defence backtracking frantically after he skinned former Dee full back Dave Mackay. However, he was eventually crowded out and that was the frustrating story for most of the match. Dundee were moving the ball around patiently in midfield, but lacked the pace and urgency they needed in the final third to turn promising moves into goal chances. Saints' Allan Mannus was the first keeper into action after 20 minutes when he saved well from Paul McGowan after a neat passing move finally penetrated the home penalty area. However, it was Saints who took the lead slightly against the run of play after 25 minutes. In contrast to Dundee the home side had been showing plenty of urgency in their attacks, but in their haste they usually made a hash of their moves. When Dundee gave the ball away carelessly in midfield Saints managed to get it right. Brian GRAHAM ran in from the left and curled a neat finish around Scott Bain to open the scoring. The Dundee defence had been looking fairly secure, but they went through a nervous spell after conceding the goal. A more alert team than Saints would have punished some sloppy defending by the Dee. The first half ended with Dundee pressing for an equaliser, and they came desperately close a minute before the break. Stewart attacked from the right and a tackle sent the ball ricocheting across the penalty area for Clarkson to smash a volley against the post from 15 yards. The ball rebounded to him but, off balance, he knocked it over the bar. The Dark Blues showed more urgency after the break as they switched to 4-4-2 with Stewart joining Clarkson attacking through the middle. Unfortunately the dreadful pitch made it very difficult to run with the ball and both sides struggled to play composed football. Dundee came close again when a Paul McGinn cross was deflected, looping high into the air and dropping at the far post where Mannus lost the ball. Clarkson pounced, but couldn't force the ball past the defenders on the line. A Stewart corner on the hour triggered a scramble in the Saints' goalmouth, but Dundee couldn't turn the ball home. The Dark Blues had to survive a scramble in their own goalmouth shortly afterwards, but Davidson cleared. In the middle of the half St Johnstone had a brief spell of pressure in which Graham turned and forced a comfortable save by Bain. Normal service was then resumed as Dundee pressed, rather unconvincingly, for an equaliser. Craig Wighton came on for David Clarkson, and then Paul Heffernan replaced Simon Ferry. The changes gave Dundee more mobility and pace in attack. Wighton had a good run into the area, but mishit his shot as the defence closed in on him. The last 20 minutes saw Dundee pressing constantly as St Johnstone defended in depth. Dundee played the ball around the home penalty area for long spells looking for an opening, but Saints' defence held firm. Alex Harris replaced Jim McAlister for the last 15 minutes, but frustratingly the Dark Blues couldn't turn domination of the game outside the penalty area into serious danger to Mannus's goal. In spite of a very poor midfield and attacking performance by Saints in the second half they were able to hold on for a win, for which their defence deserves all the credit. Today was something of a come down after the excitement and euphoria of the derby victory. Possibly the frantic exertions of Wednesday night had taken too much out of the players. The Dark Blues worked hard, trying to pass the ball fluently on a bumpy pitch that wrecked good football, but they couldn't quite summon the inspiration to grab the goals they deserved. St Johnstone 4-4-2 Mannus Mackay, Wright, Anderson, Easton (Scobbie 88) Wotherspoon, Millar, Lappin, O'Halloran (Swanson 83) Graham (Kane 76), MacLean Unused subs: Banks (gk), McFadden, Miller, Brown Goals: Graham (25) Booked: none. Dundee FC 4-3-3 Bain Paul McGinn, Davidson, Konrad, Dyer Stephen McGinn, Ferry (Heffernan 67), McAlister (Harris 77) McGowan, Clarkson (Wighton 64), Stewart Unused subs: Letheren (gk), Gadzhalov, Black, Colquhoun Booked: Paul McGinn (foul on Swanson) Referee: Steven McLean Attendance: 6,386 Report: James Christie
  8. It was no surprise that Paul Hartley sent out an unchanged team after last week's victory at Kilmarnock. Dundee started well, putting Saints under pressure right from the start. All of the early play was in St Johnstone's half as the eager Dees probed for an opening goal. After five minutes there was a huge talking point when David Clarkson intercepted a careless backpass by Gary McDonald. Goalkeeper Alan Mannus raced out, but Clarkson lifted the ball over him and the players came together, with the Dee striker hitting the floor. Referee Mr Madden raced to the scene of the crime, reaching for his pocket. With most people expecting a red card for Mannus and a penalty the referee flummoxed the home fans by producing a yellow card for Clarkson. The Dundee striker was struggling to retain his composure in response to repeated heavy challenges from behind. However, he was proving a highly effective centre forward and gave the Saints defence endless trouble. After 10 minutes Clarkson pinged a fierce 25 yarder narrowly wide. Martin Boyle was next to have a go with an 18 yard volley that Mannus saved well. The Saints' keeper surpassed that save with a superb low stop from a Harkins' volley that seemed certain to rocket inside the post. Dundee continued to play well, dominating Saints all over the park. However, slick moves ended with weak shots. Another misdirected backpass set Clarkson free, but Mannus pulled off a great save to stop the Dee striker grabbing his sixth goal in six matches for the Dee. Clarkson wasn't to be denied for long though. Five minutes before the break Saints' midfielder O'Halloran reached the byline to win a corner in Saints only dangerous attack of the half. When the corner came over Dundee broke quickly in numbers. The ball was switched from Clarkson to McGowan and on to Boyle who played in Stewart on the right. As Mannus narrowed the angle Stewart passed across goal for CLARKSON to fire home. A 1-0 half time lead was the very least that Dundee deserved after 45 minutes of total dominance. Saints' manager Tommy Wright was clearly unhappy with his team's first half performance and replaced two players at half time. McDonald and Caddis stayed in the dressing room and were replaced by Simon Lappin and David Wotherspoon. Saints were more purposeful and convincing now. Former Dee Dave Mackay broke forward from his defensive duties to test Bain, who turned the ball wide. St Johnstone got back into the game when McPake pulled Graham's shirt to stop him reaching a cross that Bain was probably going to claim anyway. Mr Madden booked the Dundee defender and GRAHAM scored confidently from the spot. Dundee should have had a penalty of their own minutes later when Greg Stewart dribbled from the right wing into the penalty area, only to be tripped by Wright. Surprisingly there was no whistle. If Saints' equaliser had been against the run of play they took great encouragement from being on level terms. They looked a far better side and started to edge Dundee out in midfield and build dangerous attacks. They swept into Dundee's penalty area with their best move of the game but a great tackle from McAlister knocked the ball away from O'Halloran before he could shoot. Midway through the half Paul Hartley decided Dundee needed to get a grip in midfield again and sent on Kevin Thomson to replace Martin Boyle. The change steadied the Dee and the game settled down with both teams keen to win, but reluctant to commit too many men forward. Stewart forced a good save by Mannus from the corner of the penalty area. Late on the Saint's keeper had to save again to foil McAlister after McGowan played him in at the end of Dundee's best move of the second half. In injury time a McPake header from a corner drifted across goal and wide with no-one able to reach it. A promising Stewart run ended with him being knocked to the ground as he approached the penalty area, and Dundee's last chance was gone. Saints will doubtless feel they were worth their point after a vastly improved second half performance. However, Dundee were the better side over the full 90 minutes and should have killed Saints off in a one sided first half. Dundee had to contend with a lot of problems in this match, and they would probably have lost in similar circumstance when they were last in the top division. The players did well to keep playing football rather than being distracted by factors outwith their control. However, in the second half their passing and decision making wasn't as good as it has been in recent matches. Too many promising moves broke down needlessly. Clarkson and Stewart showed again how dangerous they can be. Supported by Harkins they always looked threatening in the first half. In the opening part of the second half they were less effective as Dundee were being overrun in midfield. The arrival of Kevin Thomson steadied the ship, but the Dark Blues' momentum had been lost and they struggled to impose themselves on Saints as they had in the first half. Dundee FC 4-2-3-1 Bain McGinn, McPake, Konrad, Irvine McGowan, McAlister Boyle (Thomson 67), Harkins, Stewart Clarkson Unused subs: Schenk (gk), Black, Dyer, McBride, Davidson, Roberts Goal: Clarkson (40) Booked: Clarkson, Harkins, Boyle, McPake St Johnstone FC 4-2-3-1 Mannus Mackay, Wright, Anderson, Brian Easton Millar, McDonald (Lappin HT) Croft (Miller 90), Caddis (Wotherspoon HT), O'Halloran Graham Unused subs: Banks (gk), Morgan, Brown, Dylan Easton Goal: Graham (52 pen) Booked: Wright Referee: Bobby Madden Attendance: 6,931 Report: James Christie
  9. Dundee made only one change to the side that drew with Celtic. Simon Ferry came in for the injured Peter MacDonald and Greg Stewart moved forward to play as the lone striker. The Dee started smoothly and confidently in the beautiful sunshine. The Dark Blues midfield settled impressively into control and Saints struggled to build their attacks with the fluency of the Dee. Paul McGowan and Gary Harkins were the key players in the centre of the park, always available and always able to pick out a clever pass. The first chance fell to Ferry who thrashed the ball well wide after clever play between Roberts and McGinn on the right had exposed the Saints defence. Dundee deservedly took the lead midway through the half. Roberts' corner from the left was headed on by McPake. Harkins hooked the ball towards goal and Thomas KONRAD got the final touch to send the ball over the line. The Dark Blues could have extended their lead only two minutes later. Roberts tracked back to break up an attack and set up a Dee break. McGinn's low cross found Harkins whose shot whizzed over the bar. Saints had plenty of the ball, but struggled to retain possession in the Dundee half and couldn't pick their way through a solid Dark Blue defence. The final chance of the first half fell to the Dee. Roberts sailed past Brian Easton and his low cross found McAlister whose shot was deflected wide for a corner. Dundee's inventive set pieces always looked dangerous, and this one brought a fresh variation with Roberts finding McGowan whose cross to the far post was just nudged clear before Harkins could score. The home side had struggled to threaten the Dundee goal in the first half. A good side like Saints would surely improve and offer a real threat after the break. However, Dundee reasserted their firm control of the game and made Saints look utterly toothless. St Johnstone couldn't build any dangerous moves, and the Dundee defence were never threatened. The Dark Blues looked dangerous every time they won the ball and moved forward. Their calm and measured possession game always had the home defence on edge. Roberts' cross found McGowan free beyond the the far post, but Mannus beat away his fierce drive. Dundee might have been comfortably in charge, but they weren't creating clear chances. They passed their way neatly around the Saints penalty area, and put in plenty of dangerous crosses, but frustratingly Dundee couldn't kill off Saints. Harkins had a 25 yard free kick well saved by Mannus. The Dee playmaker was outstanding today, and McGowan was every bit as impressive alongside him. The two midfielders combined superbly behind Stewart, who also had a fine game. He showed good skill and awareness as he took the ball and brought teammates into play. When he was replaced late in the match by Tankulic he received a well deserved standing ovation from the Dee support. Tankulic had the last half chance when he headed over from a corner. Harkins went for a glorious finale when he tried to lob Mannus from 35 yards in injury time, but the ball drifted well wide. St Johnstone ran out of ideas long before the end. In the last 20 minutes they lost the ball cheaply every time they came forward as the Dundee defence remained firmly in charge. Injury time was played out almost entirely within 40 yards of the Saint goal. The home side were well beaten by this stage and Dundee saw out the game easily. St Johnstone are a very good Premiership side and it might be argued that Dundee caught them on an off day. However, the Dark Blues made their hosts look very ordinary indeed. This was as good an away performance as Dundee have given in the top division in many a long year, and the Dees packed in behind the goal that Dundee were attacking in the second half lapped it all up. This was no backs to wall win, with a goal being grabbed on the break. Dundee were the better side in every area of the pitch and looked very much at home in the Premiership. It was an excellent team performance from back to front. Their unbeaten run continues and they are now the only undefeated team in the division. St Johnstone 4-2-3-1 Mannus Mackay, Anderson, Wright, Easton Brown (Lappin 51), Millar Wotherspoon, McDonald (Croft 74), O'Halloran (Morgan 62) Graham Unused subs: Banks (gk), Caddis, Davidson, Miller Booked: O'Halloran (foul on McGinn), Anderson (foul on Harkins) Dundee FC 4-4-1-1 Letheren McGinn, McPake, Konrad, Irvine Roberts (Boyle 78), McAlister, Ferry (McBride 87), McGowan Harkins Stewart (Tankuic 83) Unused subs: Bain (gk), Clarkson, Davidson, Wighton Goal: Konrad (25) Booked: none Referee: Willie Collum Attendance: 6,562 Report: James Christie
  10. The only change from Sunday was Lewis Toshney returning to replace the injured Brian Easton. Kyle Benedictus moved to right back and Gary Irvine went to left back. The first half hour was dull and scrappy. It looked ominously like the game would be a tedious and low scoring affair. Dundee occasionally looked like they might put a dangerous move together, but it never quite happened. Ryan Conroy forced a good save from Allan Mannus with a 25 yard free kick. Nicky Riley got his head to a Conroy cross, but placed the ball too close to the keeper who saved comfortably. Conroy then hit another good free kick, this time from 35 yards. Mannus managed to block the ball and had to scramble it away as Baird followed up. That was pretty much it for the first 30 minutes. St Johnstone had offered little threat or urgency, apart from a couple of penetrating runs down either flank by Mehid Abeid, on loan from Newcastle. Their opening goal after 32 minutes was something of a surprise after all the sloppiness. What wasn't a surprise was that it was another avoidable goal. Cregg was given space to run to the edge of the penalty area. Douglas managed to parry his shot, but the ball pinged up into the air and MACLEAN won the chase to head it into the empty net. The Dark Blues kept their heads and chased a quick equaliser. Their wretched luck continued when Harkins shot against the post after Baird's neat lay off. Dundee's frustration continued when the rebound got stuck under the referee's feet on the edge of the penalty area, giving Saints time to recover. Within a minute Dundee had a wee bit of luck at last when Irvine miscontrolled the ball and seemed to knock it against his own hand. Fortunately the referee didn't see the incident as clearly as the Saints fans seemed to! Nevertheless it would have been harsh on Dundee if they had finished the first half a goal down. The equaliser came four minutes from the break. Conroy's right wing corner was beautifully flighted to the near post. Toshney glanced his header on, and John BAIRD headed home at the back post. Dundee came out for the second half determined to take the game to Saints. Within the first minute Gary Harkins had dispossessed Wright and forced a corner. Harkins was at the centre of every Dundee attack. He had the home supporters out of their seats when he beat two men with a lovely run through the middle, only for Mannus to race out and grab the ball off his feet. The Dark Blues should have taken the lead after an hour. Another corner from Conroy on the right caused chaos in the Saints defence. The ball fell to Toshney, whose close range shot was saved by Mannus's feet. When the ball was cleared Conroy picked it up, ran at the defence, and played a clever one-two with Harkins to go past the last defender. He should have scored, but Mannus again saved Saints. Dundee were on top now and three points seemed a real, if tantalising, possibility. However, the roof fell in on the Dee midway through the second half when the game suddenly swung emphatically in Saints' favour. Liam Craig spun round Declan Gallagher on the edge of the penalty area and was pulled to the ground. Mr Collum reach for his red card, and when the free kick was eventually taken Dave MACKAY placed his free kick round the wall and into the top corner. John Brown took off Nicky Riley and sent on Davide Grassi to shore up the defence. Riley had been busy and effective on the right. Losing a man, a goal, and Riley's threat on the right was a huge blow to Dundee and St Johnstone took charge of the match. The Dark Blues had to defend desperately as Saints went for the kill. A third goal looked far more likely than a Dundee equaliser. John Brown tried to change the flow of the game by sending on Mark Stewart and Colin Nish for Baird and Harkins. The departure of Harkins in particular puzzled the home support. Dundee had now withdrawn their two most creative players. Was there any hope? Well, yes, there was! Mark Stewart had shown some neat skill and bursts of real pace. Two minutes from the end he led a breakout from defence. It seemed to have fizzled out, but Saints didn't clear the ball properly. Jim McAlister fed it back through the middle and Nish touched it on to leave STEWART in space to hammer home the equaliser from 12 yards. Play surged from end to end during the three minutes of injury time as both sides tried to grab a winner. However, a draw was a fair result over the whole match. Dundee were on top for longer, and had the better chances. However, St Johnstone should have closed the match out after taking the lead. They were controlling the game, but were possibly too complacent and certainly lost concentration. The Dundee supporters were desperate for three points and a morale boosting performance before the cup tie derby on Sunday. There was no win, but few would have been few moaning about the result and performance. This was the first time this season that Dundee have taken even a point after going a goal down. Coming from behind twice was very pleasing, all the more so because two strikers scored, another first in the league. It wasn't brilliant, but Dundee's performance was whole-hearted, and with a bit of luck they could have scored more than the two goals they did get. After all the depressing defeats when Dundee have offered little threat that makes a pleasant change. John Brown will surely feel he has something to work with. Dundee FC 4-4-1-1 Douglas Benedictus, Gallagher, Toshney, Irvine Riley (Grassi 67), McAlister, Davidson, Conroy Harkins (Nish 76) John Baird (Stewart 72) Unused subs; Alex Baird (gk), McBride, Morgan, Milne Goals; Baird (41), Stewart (88) Booking; Baird (stopping free kick being taken) St Johnstone 4-2-3-1 Mannus MacKay, Wright, McCracken, Scobbie Millar (Anderson 86), Cregg, Craig, Abeid (Tadé 64), Vine (Hasselbank 80) MacLean Unused subs; Tuffey (gk), Callum Davidson, Caddis, Edwards Goals; MacLean (34), MacKay (67) Bookings; Cregg (foul on Riley), MacLean (leaving park after scoring), Vine (dive), Millar (foul on Stewart) Attendance; 5,224 Referee; Willie Collum Report; James Christie
  11. The sight of Stephen O'Donnell being carried off on a stretcher early in the second half added another thoroughly unwelcome touch of gloom to the proceedings. Barry Smith made four changes to the side that was beaten by Aberdeen at the weekend. Lewis Toshney and Brian Easton replaced Kyle Benedictus and Matt Lockwood. Iain Davidson returned to the midfield in place of Kevin McBride, and John Baird dropped onto the bench as Steven Milne came back from injury. The pitch looked in good condition for January, but was clearly rough and bobbly down the flanks. Neither side was able to keep the ball under control in the wide areas and fluent moves were a rarity throughout the game. In a sloppy, cagey first half hour neither keeper had anything serious to trouble them. Saints had a scare when Gallagher was allowed a free header only a few yards out from McAlister's free kick, but the young defender missed the ball. After 30 minutes Vine had a good run down the left and flashed his cross across the face of goal with no teammates on hand. The only goal soon followed; it was as messy as the rest of the game and had a touch of controversy too. Gallagher deflected Tadé's cross back towards Douglas, who was then clattered by Pawlett's lunge. The ball broke to Liam Craig who tapped it into the empty net, and surprisingly the referee's whistle signalled a goal rather than a free kick. Shortly afterwards Pawlett repeated his lunge at Douglas. This time Mr McKendrick awarded a free kick, though it was hard to see any difference between the two challenges. Soon after half time Kevin McBride came off the bench to replace O'Donnell who was clearly in pain after a midfield challenge and needed lengthy treatment before being taken off on a stretcher. Both sides had half hearted penalty appeals during the second half. Tadé bounced off Gallagher in the box and went down. This time Dundee got the benefit of the doubt. At the other end Milne claimed unsuccessfully that he'd been barged from behind going for an Easton cross in one of the few spells of pressure from Dundee. In a game desperately short of penalty box action there was very little else to excite the fans. The Dundee defence were caught snoozing when Vine was allowed to spin on Mackay's free kick and shoot across goal. Colin Nish then came nearest to grabbing an equaliser when Easton played him in. Tam Scobbie dived in to block and Nish's shot spun over the bar with the goalkeeper already having dived. Frazer Wright's header from a corner grazed the top of the Dundee bar, and the match seemed as if it might spark into life when Riley had a great run from his own half. His shot from 25 yards was just too high, but that was the end of any excitement with 20 minutes to go. Dundee tried hard to work the ball into the Saints penalty area but couldn't unsettle the home defence. Deep into injury time Saints substitute Hasselbaink screwed a shot six yards wide. The game was so lacking in excitement that this was enough to produce an "ooooooh!" from the home fans. The game drifted to its conclusion with Dundee unable to fashion an equaliser, or even a clear chance. Saints ran the ball into the corners as only a cold breeze kept the supporters awake. This was a poor game in which the first goal was always likely to be vital. Saints got the break to score and did enough in the second half to keep all the points. Dundee badly needed the confidence boost they would have got from taking the lead and simply couldn't afford to fall behind. The defence did their job well enough, apart from the avoidable goal. The team as a whole was organised and hard working, but they lacked the creative spark they needed to turn the game in their favour. The Dee might have got something here today against a St Johnstone team who were well short of their best. Luck wasn't on Dundee's side, but Dundee didn't play well enough to put Saints under the sort of pressure that might have resulted in them getting a break. St Johnstone 4-4-2 Mannus Mackay, Wright, McCracken, Callum Davidson (Scobbie 34) Pawlett, Millar, Murray Davidson, Craig Tade (MacLean 67), Vine (Hasselbaink 82) Unused subs; Tuffey (gk), Moon, Caddis, Steeves Goal; Craig (32) Bookings; Murray Davidson (foul on McAlister), Pawlett (dive) Dundee FC 4-4-2 Douglas Irvine, Toshney, Gallagher, Easton Riley, O'Donnell (McBride 53), Davidson. McAlister Nish (Stewart 64), Milne (John Baird 82) Unused subs; Alex Baird (gk), McGregor, Conroy, Boyle Bookings; O'Donnell (foul on Pawlett), McAlister (foul on Pawlett) Attendance; 5,055 Referee; John McKendrick Report; James Christie
  12. Ryan Conroy equalised Gregory Tadé's opener, only for Saints to grab a quick second from Liam Craig. The first half was fairly even but Saints took charge after the break. A third goal from Steven MacLean put the visitors in control. Without ever playing flashy football or doing anything particularly clever they mastered Dundee all over the pitch and deserved the points. Dundee made two changes from last week. Lewis Toshney returned in place of Kyle Benedictus, and Martin Boyle made his first start, replacing Steven Milne. The Dee nearly got off to a great start when McAlister took a Conroy pass, beat a man and saw his 12 yard shot deflected wide. Colin Nish then exposed uncertainty in the Saints' defence when he managed to force Anderson's short passback past the keeper, Alan Mannus, only for the ball to be hacked clear. Unfortunately for the Dark Blue fans there was plenty of uncertainty on show at the other end of the field, and Dundee were punished for it. It was a worrying sign of things to come when Tadé caught Iain Davidson napping and crossed the ball low into the goalmouth where Lewis Toshney contorted himself to cut out the danger. Saints took the lead after 17 minutes when Liam Craig timed a good run from deep to burst clear. He cut the ball back from the byline and Gregor TADÉ at the far post shot high into the net. The Dee gave the fans a lift with a quick equaliser. Nish knocked the ball down into the penalty area and Saints' Cregg scooped the ball into the air towards Boyle. The young striker got his head to the ball before being knocked over by Wright's clumsy challenge. The referee gave the penalty and Ryan CONROY tucked the ball away. Sadly Dundee failed to build on the goal and within five minutes were undone by a dreadfully defended goal. A slack pass from Toshney as Dundee tried to move out of defence left Lockwood out of position and St Johnstone were able to work the ball out to Gary Miller in space on the right. His cross was allowed to bounce through the goalmouth, past the startled Hasselbaink and on to Liam CRAIG who smashed the ball into the goal from a tight angle. Dundee spent most of the remainder of the first half in the Saints' penalty area without ever troubling Alan Mannus. Dundee's hopes of pulling the game back were dealt a blow when Saints extended their lead after six minutes of the second half. Craig's corner was headed powerfully across goal by Wright and Steven MACLEAN managed to get his head to the ball to score from close range. The goal transformed the match and St Johnstone were firmly in control. Dundee never looked like saving the game. St Johnstone ensured that the Dundee midfield never had a second to dwell on the ball. The Dark Blue midfielders were constantly being closed down or caught in possession. Saints meanwhile were moving the ball quickly forwards where Tadé's pace and aggression exposed Dundee in central defence. Davidson looked uncomfortable against Tadé's persisting hunting after space behind the defence. Lewis Toshney didn't look fully fit and had to be replaced by Kyle Benedictus with half an hour to go. Saints were also successful finding space in between the central defenders and full backs. The result was that the Dundee defence was being pulled around and struggling to stop Saints scoring more goals. Dundee were too hesitant and too ponderous when they did have the ball and they lost it far too quickly. They built very few fluent moves, and none that opened Saints up. Not once in the second half did Dundee manage to get anyone in a position to send in a dangerous cross. Eventually Dundee resorted to long balls in the hope that Colin Nish could create something. Although Nish had the measure of Steven Anderson in the air the referee took exception to the way that the big striker was imposing himself. As a result Anderson had a much more comfortable afternoon than he might have expected and the long balls never worried Saints. Martin Boyle had a frustrating afternoon in which he never got any worthwhile service and saw the ball only when he dropped deep. Nick Riley replaced John Baird after Saints third goal but couldn't get into the game. Whenever he got the ball he was surrounded by a posse of Saints. Gregory Tadé was having far more joy at the other end and was unlucky not to get another goal. He outstripped Davidson on the right and lashed a shot against the outside of Douglas's post. He then had a shot from a corner cleared off the line by McAlister. Both sides had penalty shouts that the referee ignored. Saints' appeal looked the more convincing when Benedictus seemed to wrestle MacLean down, and then Colin Nish may have been pulled down as he turned to try and shoot. MacLean seemed to fall awkardly at the penalty claim and had to be stretchered off. In injury time Dundee at last managed to create a couple of half chances, but Irvine and Conroy shot too high each time. Saints had their shaky moments in defence in the first half, but Dundee couldn't punish them. Dundee's wobbliness at the back was punished, however, and not as painfully as it might have been. Dundee's defence today looked exactly what it was, a defensive unit that hadn't played together before. They badly needed protection from the midfield, and they never got it. The midfield couldn't support the strikers either and spent most of the second half chasing the ball or struggling unsuccessfully to find space. The strikers might have had a miserable afternoon, but the real problems today were behind them. Dundee have yet to take a point at home in the SPL, and this was the worst of the four defeats. St Johnstone might not have been any more than efficient and hard working, but that was far too much for the Dee today. Dundee FC 4-4-2 Douglas Irvine, Toshney (Benedictus 60), Davidson, Lockwood Baird (Riley 52), McAlister, Kerr, Conroy Nish, Boyle Unused subs; Alex Baird (gk), Milne, Gallagher, McBride, Easton Goal; Conroy (21 pen) Bookings; McAlister (foul on Millar), Nish (persistent fouling), Benedictus (foul on Hasselbaink) St Johnstone FC 4-4-2 Mannus Miller, Anderson, Wright, MacKay Millar, Davidson, Cregg (Hasselbaink 24), Craig Tadé, MacLean (Beattie 84) Unused subs; Tuffey (gk), McCracken, Tobin, Kane, Caddis Goals; Tadé (17), Craig (26), MacLean (51) Bookings; Wright (foul on Boyle at penalty incident) Attendance; 6,158 Referee; Alan Muir Report; James Christie
  13. Robert Douglas, Barry Smith, Gary Harkins, Steven Milne and Peter MacDonald will pull on the Dark Blue top once more while our management team of Neil McCann and Graham Gartland will also make an appearance. Charlie Adams will once again will turn out for the Dee having previously done so back in 2014 for Julian Speroni’s testimonial in London. For St Johnstone, they will see former favourites such as Jody Morris, Danny Griffin, Frazer Wright, Darren Dods, John O’Neil, Martin Hardie, Allan Preston, Nathan Lowndes and Paul Sheerin. Kick Off: 7.30PM Admission: Adults - £15, Concessions (U16s and seniors) - £5 Dundee fans will be accommodated in the North section of the Main Stand
  14. Leitch-Smith gets his first goal for the club, after tapping the ball from short range after Mannus fumbled the ball. Leitch-Smith gets his second of the game after smashing in from 7 yards out. Bain is judged to give away a penatly and St Johnstone score from the spot to make it 2 - 1. Liam Craig was the goal scorer. Leitch-Smith was brought down in the box and Dundee. Moussa smashes it into the side and makes it 3-1. O'Dea sent off and St Johnstone score from the spot to make it 3-2. Dundee 3 - 2 St Johnstone
  15. Who was your man of the match against St Johnstone in this weekends game?
  16. The ref against St Johnstone was Alan Muir. How did you rate his performance in this game?
  17. There is no match report yet. Please come back later.
  18. The Dark Blues host St Johnstone today. The last time Dundee and St Jonstone played, the Dark Blues came out 2 - 0 winners. The Teams for today: Dundee: Bain, Kerr, O'Dea, Holt, Leitch-Smith, Kamara, Moussa, El Bakhtaoui, Deacon, Hendry, Spence. Subs: Parish, Allan, O'Hara, Aurtenetxe, McGowan, Wolters, Waddell. St Johnstone: Mannus, Foster, Anderson, Shaughnessy, Easton, Wotherspoon, Craig, Paton, O'Halloran, MacLean, Johnstone. Subs: Clark, Tanser, Millar, Scougall, Thomson, Gilchrist, Cummins. Game is live on DeeTV for those who are living outside the UK.
  19. 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.
  20. TheDarkBlues

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  21. Dundee headed to Perth for the wee derby with St Johnstone. Two early goals from Paton and Alston were enough for St Johnstone to keep the three points at home. St Johnstone 2 - 0 Dundee
  22. After conceding twice in the first 20 minutes, the Dark Blues didn’t look like getting back into the contest at McDiarmid Park. And after the form his team had shown in recent victories over Rangers and Motherwell, their inability to repeat those good performances was a big disappointment. Hartley said: “We’ve been excellent for the past month but I felt on Saturday we were poor in every department. “Defensively throughout the team we were poor, ball retention was poor, the speed of our play, too many loose passes, we were sloppy and we just couldn’t get going.” St Johnstone strikers Graham Cummins and Steven MacLean were in fine form throughout the Tayside derby and gave Dundee centre-backs Darren O’Dea and Kosta Gadzhalov a torrid time. But for the manager, defending starts from the front. He added: “It wasn’t just them, we’ve got to stop the first pass going up. “We didn’t press the ball well as much as we have been doing in the last few games. It was just a real poor performance. “I’m not going to dress it up and say we were this, that and the other — we were poor.”
  23. The Dens manager made the comment following his team’s desperately disappointing defeat and display against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park on Saturday. Dundee never recovered from the loss of two early goals with O’Dea candidly confessing that they were completely outfought by Saints. However, with a match against Celtic looming large on the horizon on Sunday at Dens, the players simply have to pick themselves up. O’Dea said: “Yes, the manager’s right. When you go from the high of beating Rangers at home and then even better against Motherwell . . . “We are a strange team at times. The worst thing as a manager is when you don’t know what you are going to get and that’s not good enough. “It’s nothing to do with effort or desire but anyone who is surprised that they were going to get a tough game here needs a reality check. “It is always difficult here as they are a very good team. They know exactly what they are doing. “We were off it and got punished for it. “Sometimes when you come off the pitch and you have been beaten you can accept it a little bit if you have been outplayed. “But we were outfought and that’s hard to take. “If you have competed to your best ability and are beaten by good play . . . but we were beaten because we weren’t ready for a fight and they were. “Look, we have a couple of tough games coming up but in a strange way it might be good for us to play against two good footballing teams in Celtic and Aberdeen. “So we need to pick up quickly and cannot feel sorry for ourselves as these are top teams.”
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