Ryan Conroy gave Dundee a first half lead with a 20 yard free kick and Craig Wighton headed the second shortly after half time. Raith's left back Callum Booth was sent off moments after Dundee's opener and Dundee were always in charge after that.
Iain Davidson returned from injury and Kevin McBride dropped onto the bench, which meant that the defence was on more familiar lines. Craig Wighton came in for Craig Beattie and so the Dark Blues lined up with exactly the same team as in the last home game against Queen of the South.
Dundee have been slow starters this season, but they didn't hang around today. In their second attack, still inside the first minute, the Dee should have taken the lead. Wighton took a pass from Riley swung over a great cross from the right. Peter MacDonald should have scored from six yards, but Raith's young keeper Ross Laidlaw pulled off a fine save.
Rovers had a few promising attacks in the first 20 minutes, but their final balls were never good enough to create real danger in the home defence. Dundee didn't fashion any good chances in that spell, but their more measured approach always looked likely to pay dividends.
The match took a huge swing in Dundee's favour just before the half hour. Ryan Conroy's 30 yard free kick was handled by Callum Booth in the defensive wall. The resulting second free kick was perfectly positioned for CONROY and his sweet shot swung over the wall and inside Laidlaw's left hand post.
Little more than a minute after losing a goal Rovers lost a man. Left back Callum Booth had been booked for handling Conroy's first free kick. When he flattened Nicky Riley with a body check he received an inevitable second yellow card.
Rovers removed striker Gordon Smith and sent on Kevin McCann to cover the left back spot. From then on Rovers had a mountain to climb. To their credit they made a tough fight of it. Callum Elliot flashed a cross shot wide, and then Liam Fox had a half chance when he tried to guide a long ball over Letheren, but his header sailed into the keeper's hands.
Ryan Conroy came close to a second delightful goal from a 25 yard free kick, but this time the ball edged the wrong side of the post.
Dundee were happy to pass the ball around patiently, keeping possession and waiting for the chance to break through Rovers' defence. Right at the end of the half a lengthy spell of passing ended with Riley curling a shot wide from 18 yards.
Just like the first half Dundee flew at Rovers right from the kick off. This time they scored and the second goal left the visitors with an impossible task to save the game.
The Dark Blues came agonisingly close to scoring in the first minute of the half. Neat passing opened up the Rovers' defence. Nicky Riley ran onto MacDonald's pass and lifted the ball over the keeper. It didn't have enough pace to cross the line and Watson beat Riley to the ball to clear it up into the air, and then head clear as the ball was dropping back down onto the goal line.
The goal was delayed for only another minute. Ryan Conroy's cross from the left was half blocked by Thomson. Conroy reacted quickest, pounced on the loose ball and raced into the penalty area. His chipped cross picked out Craig WIGHTON, who headed back across the keeper from five yards to score his first senior goal, a goal that was met with a huge roar of delight from the home support who were desperate for the youngster to score.
A good run down the left by Kevin Moon briefly offered danger at the home end, but Joe Cardle stabbed the ball wide under pressure.
Dundee settled down to play an impressive, confident passing game. A lovely interchange between MacDonald and Riley on the left ended with Conroy heading Riley's cross over the bar.
During the second half Dundee played a fast, penetrating passing game that was often a joy to watch. Young Wighton contributed impressively to some slick moves with his good touch and awareness.
Callum Elliot went down dramatically when a Cardle free kick came into the Dundee penalty area, but the referee wasn't impressed. At the other end Peter MacDonald was pushed from behind when he was going for an Irvine cross, but again the referee chose to give the defence the benefit of the doubt. Dundee played on instead of wasting time appealing and Laidlaw saved well from McAlister.
A great run by Riley on the left opened up the Rovers' defence, but McCann's last gasp challenge managed to nick the cross away from Conroy who seemed sure to score.
Yet another long passing move ended with Laidlaw saving well from MacDonald's 18 yard shot. When the corner came over it was half cleared and Jim McAlister blasted a 20 yard shot just past the post.
Nicky Riley was replaced by Martin Boyle for the later stages, a sensible precaution given that the winger had been booked. Kevin McBride also came on for the limping Matt Lockwood and played a comfortable 10 minutes in an unfamiliar left back role.
Dundee should have added a third goal when clever passing by Conroy and Wighton set up MacDonald, but the shot was weak and Laidlaw saved easily.
In injury time Dundee were happy to run the clock down and take the three points. Rovers have been doing very well this season, and this was only their second defeat in all competitions over 90 minutes, and their first in three months. This was an excellent win for the Dark Blues, who were both solid and creative. It wasn't spectacular, but it was a good professional win. There were some moments of delightful quality, and none of the careless mistakes that have marred recent games. Let's hope the Dee are back on track!
Craig Wighton won the sponsor's man of the match award. It won't be the first time!
Dundee FC 4-4-2
Irvine, Gallagher, Davidson, Lockwood (McBride 83)
Riley (Boyle 76), McAlister, Rae, Conroy
MacDonald (Beattie 89), Wighton
Unused subs; Twardzik (gk), Thomson, Monti, Doris
Goals; Conroy (27), Wighton (47)
Booked; Davidson (foul on Elliot), Riley (foul on Anderson)
Raith Rovers 4-4-2
Thomson, Watson, Ellis, Booth
Anderson, Moon, Fox (Callachan 83), Cardle (Spence 71)
Smith (McCann 33), Elliot
Unused subs; Stewart (gk), Hill, Donaldson, Vaughan
Booked; Booth (handball), Booth (foul on Riley), Thomson (foul on Riley), Cardle (simulation)
Sent off; Booth (two bookings)
Referee; Andrew Dallas
Report; James Christie