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  1. The ex-Ross County boss takes over a Dundee side who sit bottom of the league. Dundee confirmed the appointment from their website: “Dundee Football Club is delighted to announce that Jim McIntyre has tonight been appointed manager of the club. “46-year-old, Jim has enjoyed a successful managerial career over the past 10 years with time in charge at Dunfermline Athletic, Queen of the South and Ross County. “He won promotion to the top flight with Dunfermline in his first job in management in 2011. “After leaving the East End Park side he went on to manage Queen of the South where he enjoyed success with a 4th place finish in the Championship. “Jim moved to Ross County in 2014 and went on to lead them to their first major trophy with a League Cup win in 2015/16, a season in which he also won the SFWA Manager of the Year award. “Jim joins on a one year rolling contract and will meet the players tomorrow morning before taking training.” McIntyre has been out of management for just over a year since he was sacked from Ross County along with his assistant Billy Dodds. As of yet, there has been no word if Dodds will following him to Dens Park but it would be a brave and silly man to appoint someone as hated among the Dark Blue support as the ex-Dundee striker and assistant manager. Jim McIntyre will be unveiled in front of the press tomorrow at lunchtime.
  2. Dundee lost in dramatic style to Ross Count who haven't managed to win in 18 games. County went ahead in the 49th minute through Keillor-Dunn. Waddell equalised in the 57th minute but Dundee lead didn't last long. After Schalk scored twice in a couple of minutes in the 61' and 64 minute. County made it 4 - 1 when Tim Chow drilled a ball past Parish. Shitty end to a shitty week for the Dee.
  3. The ref against Ross County was John Beaton. How did you rate his performance in this game?
  4. That meant it was time to catch up this pages favourite Ross County fan Jailender in an attempt to see how they have been performing since our last clash. First things first. How do you rate the cubs transfer activity in the January window? I think I counted no fewer than seven new arrivals? So far the jury is out on the transfer activity. Owen Coyle has added players to the areas of the field most fans feel need strengthening, however only time will tell if they’re a success. The main concern is that none of the players signed appear to be fit with several still recovering from injuries - Taney, Eagles and N’Gog - and it’s going to take time to get them up to speed - a luxury we don’t have. There is also the concern that the fit players we have signed are all unknown with Effiong coming from non league Woking and Melbourne and Käit coming from youth teams at West Brom and Fulham, and while a little more is known about Souttar he is still only 19 years old, so there isn’t a lot of experience being added. The other bizarre thing is we’ve only released 1 player - Kenny Van Der Weg, so we now have a large squad that needs to be kept happy Bottom of the league with no wins in 13. What’s happened with County? There is no denying we are where we deserve to be. The lack of goals being scored and the silly mistakes at the back is not a good combination. It was a problem we had under Jim McIntyre, but Owen Coyle hasn’t managed to solve the problem, in fact we’ve arguably got worse - especially in terms of scoring goals! You mentioned last time around about there being a lot more enthusiasm around the club. I’m guessing that that has been replaced with something else? When I last spoke Owen Coyle has not long arrived, there is no doubt he has a bubbly personality and there was a breath of fresh air around the club. However since then his enthusiasm has turned into predictable and repetitive sound bites in radio interviews. The run of bad results hasn’t helped the mood both with the players and the fans and at present we seem to be on a never ending downward spiral. The style of play has also become stale and boring - but then constant defeats does that. I think enthusiasm has been replaced with fear and dread with most fans going to matches recently through loyalty rather than looking for entertainment. I looked over some fans comments after the defeat to Aberdeen and they seemed to be directed at the managers substitutions, formations and players positions. Is this something that the fans have been speaking about for a while? The defeats to Rangers and Aberdeen are not the results that will get us relegated - it’s the losses to Partick, Hamilton, Motherwell and yourselves that will potentially costs us our league position. But the sad fact in these games was that we never really put up a challenge against them. It seems that Coyle isn’t aware of what his best team is. We get 3 or 4 changes to the starting line ups every week, then the substitutions appear to be trial and error - or at least that’s how it seems. Even with the new faces signed over the transfer window, only one started against Rangers, and while four started against Aberdeen, two were replaced at half time and we reverted back to original squad members that were deemed not good enough only a few weeks ago. We managed a rare victory last time up at your neck of the woods. What was your take on that match? The win wasn’t overly surprising given you had just beat Rangers the week before, and unbeknown to us we were just starting the current bad run. In all honesty Dundee fully deserved the win. Mark OHara ran the show and got a pretty good goal. With it being a home game for us, it was one I was looking to win, so was really disappointed to lose that game. Are you surprised at Dundee’s January dealings? It was a strange last day of the transfer window with the triangular dealings with Hibs and Celtic. It looks as though Dundee have been left weaker as Jack Henry and Scott Allen were two of your better players - however you do still have some good players and have added Simon Murray who has a good eye for goal. Finally, both teams need a win massively here. Dundee because the fans are needing to be showed that there is life after Jack Hendry and Scott Allan and County because they sit bottom and need to start clawing back the gap. Predictions? As you can tell, I’m not really confident about the game. The main hope we have is that all runs come to an end at some point, and with you losing Allan and Hendry, maybe we can cash in on that. A draw would be a step in the right direction but in reality we now need to beat teams in the bottom half of the league so a draw isn’t good enough. However I fear we may not get that and think Dundee will win 2-0
  5. The Dark Blues found their first away win of the season and first clean sheet over Ross County in the highlands. Mark O’Hara made it three goals in two games with a fantastic effort just outside the box in the 18th minute. Then with just minutes left, Faissal El Bakhtaoui secured the three points after he chipped county keeper McCarey from just outside the penalty area. Dundee moved into 9th place on goal difference after back to back wins against Rangers and Ross County. This was the Dark Blues of Tayside first clean sheet against the Staggies in the Premier league. McCann made only one change to the team that beat Rangers last Friday at Dens Park. Marcus Haber was replaced by striker Sofien Moussa due to a back injury which forced him off against Rangers. Marcus Haber took Moussa’s spot on the bench. Ross County manager Owen Coyle handed a starting place to the former Manchester United and Port Vale winger Chris Eagles. The Staggies were the first to test the resolve of the opposition keeper. Chris Eagles came in from the left unmarked, but his shot from outside the box was easily held by Parish. Then less than 30 seconds later, Roarie Deacon had a long range effort from over 20 yards which skimmed over the top of McCarey’s goal. Both teams were looking to attack and get that first goal. Ross Draper seen his header fly just wide of the Dundee goal and a Faissal El Bakhtaoui left footed shot from outside the box was blocked by the County keeper.. The Dark Blues took the lead on the 18th minute. O’Hara who looked to be full of confidence after his two goals against Rangers, did it again. A Deacon header found O’Hara in the middle of the County half, took a touch and then volleyed the ball from 25 yards out, past a helpless McCarey. Dundee nearly made it two in the 33th minute. Faissal El Bakhtaoui beat Fraser down the right and his cross came ever so close but bounced off the top of McCarey’s bar and out for a goal kick. County changed their shape at the start of the second half, resorting to a 4-4-2 formation but it was Dundee who pressed for a second goal. The Dark Blues had three chances early in the second half but couldn’t add to their lead. In the 53rd minute, McCarey couldn’t hold a low shot from Faissal El Bakhtaoui and parried the ball towards an incoming Mossua, who completely missed the ball when a simple tap in on an open goal looked certain. Josh Meekings then met a Jon Aurtenetxe low in swinging free-kick, but Meekings low stooping header was just inches past the left-hand post. In the 63rd minute, O’Hara had another shot from outside the box, however this time, his shot found its way into the arms of McCarey. It took until the 65th minute for the Staggies to really trouble Parish. An Eagles cross from the left was met by substitute McKay, but his header flew over the top of relieved Parish and landed on the roof of the net and out for a goal kick. Five minutes from time, County nearly found an equaliser through Lindsay and again, it was Eagles causing the Dundee defence problems down that left hand side. Eagles cross was headed down by McKay into the path of Lindsay, but Lindsay could only manage to scope the ball over Parish and out for a goal kick. Dundee scored the second in the 88th minute which managed to kill any hope that the Staggies had of getting a point from the game. Glen Kamara broke down a County attack and sent a superb long pass down the right to El Bakhtaoui, the little French striker lobed McCarey at the edge of the box to make it 2-0 and sealed the three points much to the delight of the away support. The Dark Blues have now taken 7 points from the last 3 games, move into 9th spot, and have kept two clean sheets in the process. This is a far cry from the run of five straight defeats which kept us at the bottom of the league.
  6. McCann said: “It was two great goals but performance-wise it was good to beat Ross County, who have been playing well under Owen Coyle. “We are showing signs of adaptability and flexibility that I have been working on. We showed a different side to our game by playing from the back. “We got that first goal then became a different animal and hit on the counter. “We have been poor this season and I think that’s the first away clean sheet Dundee have got and that’s really pleasing. “I told the players that they are beginning to show glimpses of that hard work they are putting into training. “I have to say Elliot Parish was brilliant with two clean sheets (in three games) and I am buzzing for him because he waited a long time to come in. “Mark O’Hara hit a wonderful goal and we have been encouraging him to go forward. He has that in the bag and he is starting to believe in himself now.”
  7. Dundee travelled up north to face Ross county this afternoon on the back of a fine win against Rangers last week. O'Hara opened the scoring in 18's minutes and Dundee made it two after El-Bak secured the three points in the 89th minute. Dundee now leap frog into 9th position.
  8. County took all the points in our first clash against them this term as they ran out 2-1 victors at Dens on the opening day of the season. As ever, we spoke to JailEnder to catch up on what has been going on with his club since our last interview. Dundee are without a win in four against the Staggies, our last came up at Victoria Park with a 3-1 win on the first day of the 2016/17 season. We spoke before the opening match of the new Premiership season and you wrongly predicted a 1-1 draw between the clubs. Fortunately for you, it still had an empty ending with a Ross County win. Were you surprised with the win or feel that the Staggies deserved all three points? It's always hard to gauge the first game of a league season, not knowing how teams are compared to each other, but we did perform better in the first half of that game than I thought we would, and although we hung on a bit in the second half I do think the 3 points were deserved Things never went so well after that. Put out the League Cup in extra-time at home to Motherwell along with five defeats and a draw resulted in Jim McIntyre and Billy Dodds losing their jobs. Was it time for them to go or did they deserve more time? The time for McIntyre and Dodds to go was long overdue - I'd have preferred had they gone a year ago to be honest. Summer of 2016 was a disaster for County with several poor managerial decisions such as the fallout with Scott Boyd and McIntyre that saw half the squad side with Boyd and the other half with McIntyre - as a result we lost a lot of good players like Ricky Foster and Brian Graham for nothing. Then there was McIntyre stubbornness to play Boyce out of position for 3 months where we barely won a game - only when he moved him back as a striker at the tail end of the season did things improve. Although we finished 7th in the league, given the cost of our squad last season we should have been top 6. Owen Coyle being announced as the new manager was a shock announcement wasn’t it? It was a bit of a shock to see Coyle announced, but when you look back through managerial appointments made by Roy McGregor he usually brings in a surprise. But after hearing the interviews and how Coyle and McGregor have stayed in touch since he played at County 15 years ago or so maybe it wasn't as surprising as we thought. Also it appears that Coyle and McGregor have the same style of values, personally and work wise. So by the sounds of things, there is a longer term friendship there than most knew about. Since his arrival he has managed eleven out of twenty-four points. A good return so far, especially since you had to play both Celtic and Aberdeen? Coyle has improved us a lot since he arrived. 11 out of 24 points might not sound earth shattering, but I think we had only won 6 from 18 points before that, so the points ratio has improved. The style of play is better too, defensively it's much much better. Under McIntyre we knew we'd have to score twice just to get a point, now there is a good chance of us keeping a clean sheet, while scoring goals is still an issue in games, there is a bit more of an attacking and exciting style to our play. What has he changed around the club? There is also a lot more enthusiasm around the club. Coyle himself emits enthusiasm and it appears to be rubbing off on everyone from the players, to admin staff and the fans. You mentioned before that a 7th place finish could be achieved. Considering how tight this league is (excluding the top), do you think you can still achieve this finish? 7th place is still achievable, in fact I wouldn't rule out aiming for 6th too. So many teams are closely matched and swap places all the time, it'll all come down to who gets a good run at the end of the season. A good run by any team just before the split could see anyone nick that 6th place. So while the results will be important, the timing of the run could also be equally important. Finally, we have only picked up one point away from home all season. You must fancy County for this? Dundee fans will be on a high though after Fridays victory over Rangers. Predictions? I watched the Dundee vs Rangers game last Friday evening as we play both teams in the next week.. During the first half I was saying to my son that we should be looking for 2 wins against you both. However the second half showed that Dundee might have the most gifted players, but there is a fighting spirit in that team so it won't be easy. I'd still hope we can win this game, and to be honest would be disappointed if we don't but it's not going to be easy. We'll have to be at our best to win County 1-0 Dundee
  9. If you have a match report for this game and would like to help us out, please contact us.
  10. Neil McCann named exactly the same starting line-up and substitutes as he deployed in last week’s win at Kilmarnock. County’s only change was the return of top scorer Liam Boyce from injury, with Kenny van der Weg moving to the bench. The game started at a frantic pace, with the ball zipping from end to end but County ominously showing more composure. Scott Bain saved superbly from Michael Gardyne, who had forced his way through Kevin Holt’s tackle to shoot. The opening goal was delayed for only a minute, however. Martin Woods headed a long cross down into the goalmouth and Liam BOYCE raced in to get a slight touch that was enough to leave Bain helpless. The Staggies were posing tricky problems for the Dee defence with neat passing attacking moves. One of these almost brought a second goal when Curran was played in behind the defence, only to prod the ball wide as Bain swiftly closed him down. After a difficult opening 20 minutes Dundee started to play their way into the game, but County continued to look dangerous on the break. It took a great covering tackle by Paul McGowan on Ryan Dow to end the danger after the Staggies broke quickly down the left. Dundee started to test County’s defence with good passing and movement, but too often good moves ended with poor final balls. The Dee’s efforts on goal were largely restricted to long range shots with Faissal El Bakhtaoui and Cammy Kerr both testing County keeper Scott Fox. Cammy Kerr had been finding space on the left of County’s defence, where wing back Ryan Dow had looked more comfortable with the wing side of his role than the back. When Dow clutched his knee after a collision he was swiftly replaced by Kenny van der Weg as County tried to get to grips with Kerr’s raiding. In first half injury time Dundee went agonisingly close when Kevin Holt swung a cross deep into the penalty area. Paul McGowan’s volley flew inches past the far post with Marcus Haber lunging at the ball, not quite able to turn it into the net. If the Staggies had much the better of the opening 20 minutes the Dee had turned the game round to become the stronger, more dangerous side for the rest of the first half. This patterm was maintained after the break as the Dark Blues grew increasingly dominant. Nick Ross replaced Tom Hateley at the interval and his patient passing proved influential. County started to tire, conceding space and possession too easily. In one impressive run Cammy Kerr powered through the midfield, only to be fouled by Martin Woods before he could reach the penalty area. A goalmouth scramble following a corner ended with Tim Chow heading the ball off the line after Marcus Haber had nodded the ball beyond Fox. El Bakhtaoui sent a shot from 25 yards dipping inches over the crossbar, and Kevin Holt came within inches of earning a penalty after his driving run from the left was ended by O’Brien’s trip on the edge of the penalty area. Kerr’s free kick was blocked by the defensive wall. Kevin Gomis was substituted by Kosta Gadzhalov midway through the half after picking up an injury. With the Dark Blues having set up camp deep in County’s half the forced change had no impact on the home defence. Finally, the Dee got the breakthrough they deserved. Nick Ross played a beautiful pass inside Craig Curran for Cammy Kerr, who was pushed over by the County midfielder 10 yards from goal. Skipper Darren O’Dea lashed the spot kick into the roof of the net. The supporters had been backing the players noisily, but equalise cranked the volume even higher as the Dee turned the screw on County, looking for a winner. Marcus Haber flashed a shot wide, and Mark O’Hara twice saw goalbound shots blocked as the Staggies defenders dug deep to keep Dundee at bay. After 84 minutes Haber missed the best chance of the match when McGowan’s cross found him free only five yards from goal. He headed straight at Fox, and County were able to survive until the final whistle. A win would have guaranteed that Dundee were safe from the play-off, but the supporters response at the final whistle showed that they regarded this as a good point; it takes the Dee five points clear of Hamilton and removes any possibility of automatic relegation. The team’s performance over the last hour after a difficult opening was full of passion and drive with plenty of good football. Again this was a good team display, which the fans appreciated. The Dark Blues are not safe yet, but on this showing they can approach the final two matches full of confidence. Dundee FC 4-4-1-1 Bain Kerr, Gomis (Gadzhalov 67), O’Dea (c), Holt O’Hara, Hateley (Ross at half time), Vincent, El Bakhtaoui (Wighton 85) McGowan Haber Unused subs: Ferrie (gk), Williams, Ojamaa, Higgins. Goal: O’Dea (75 pen). Booked: McGowan (dissent), Vincent (foul on Woods), O’Dea (excessive celebration). Ross County 3-5-1-1 Fox Naismith, Davies, Fraser Gardyne, O’Brien (Tumilty 72), Chow, Woods, Dow (van der Weg 34) Curran (Schalk 78) Boyce Unused subs: McCarey, (gk), Routis, Franks, Dykes. Goal: Boyce (3). Booked: Fraser (foul on O’Hara), Woods (foul on McGowan), Gardyne (off the ball incident involving El Bakhtaoui), O’Brien (foul on Holt), Tumilty (foul on Holt). Attendance: 6,812 (248 away fans). Referee: Nick Walsh. Assistants: Graeme Stewart, Willie Conquer. Fourth official: Craig Thomson. Report: James Christie.
  11. Dundee made two changes from last week's defeat at Kilmarnock. Kevin Gomis returned in central defence, replacing Julen Etxabeguren. James Vincent dropped onto the bench with Jesse Curran coming in for his first league start in midfield. County were unchanged from their 2-2 draw at home to Hearts. Both sides had half chances from corners in the first few minutes. County captain Andew Davies found himself unmarked 13 yards out but his hooked volley flew straight at Scott Bain. At the other end Jesse Curran dummied over a low Tom Hateley corner to let Craig Wighton shoot from 15 yards, but Scott Fox saved comfortably. That set the tone for an uninspiring first half in which both defences looked vulnerable at times. The Dark Blue and Staggies attacks looked occasionally dangerous, but neither side could quite put a move together that would punish the defences. County's Dutch left back Kenny van der Weg swung in a dangerous cross that neither Michael Gardyne and Craig Curran could reach. A breakthrough for Dundee looked most likely to come from Cammy Kerr's raiding down that same wing. He fired in a couple of promising crosses that no-one could get on the end of. Midway through the first half County put together a neat move that gave Tony Dingwall room to shoot from the edge of the penalty area, but he blasted his shot too high. Craig Wighton did well to make space and run in from the right, only to hit his low cross ahead of Marcus Haber. From a corner Darren O'Dea glanced a near post header across goal and past the far post, yet again without a Dark Blue player attacking the ball. Ross County did force the ball into the net just after the break. Davies headed past Bain, but the referee ruled the goal out for a two handed push on Darren O'Dea, a decision that the County players didn't think was worth contesting. Davies was a threat again a few minutes later when the Dee defence failed to clear a corner, but stretching the Staggies skipper could only turn the ball into Bain's gloves. Craig Curran went close for County with a shot from wide on the left. For the Dee Craig Wighton missed even more narrowly with a first time shot from 22 yards after he was the only player to anticipate the path of an awkwardly looping high ball. Jesse Curran had a good run that was ended by a crude foul by Jay McEveley just outside the penalty area, but Tom Hateley hit his free kick straight at Fox. Jesse Curran was then replaced by Faissal El Bakhtaoui as Paul Hartley tried to force a win with a more attacking formation. Sadly it didn't work out. Like the visitors Dundee couldn't settle on the ball in midfield and make passes that could hurt County. On the break County did find more space, but they repeatedly failed to do anything with it. The longer the game went on the more it became a midfield battle of attrition with the foul count and bookings mounting. In quick succession both teams wasted great chances to win the game and from then on the goalless draw looked inevitable. First Christopher Routis bent his shot around the post after Liam Boyce's flick had given him a clear shot from 10 yards. A Kevin Gomis challenge on the half way line then sent the ball flying over the County defence leaving Marcus Haber in the clear. He skillfully controlled the ball with his chest, had time to pick his spot but from 12 yards out hammered his shot wide. The game opened up in the last 10 minutes as both teams tried to grab a valuable win, but nobody could find the quality or composure to create a winning goal. Scott Bain saved well from County substitute Alex Schalk's header, and one of Dundee's better moves ended with Cammy Kerr heading a McGowan cross across goal where it was cleared for a corner. A goal for either side would have been a surprise, however. Some 0-0 draws are exciting and entertaining matches, but this wasn't one of them. The previous four matches between the clubs produced 24 goals and endless talking points. After an unconvincing first half the two defences looked more convincing after the break. With both sets of midfielders and forwards misfiring it was hard to begrudge the defenders their clean sheets on a day when neither side could do enough to deserve three points. Dundee FC 3-5-2 Bain Gomis, Gadzhalov, O'Dea (c) Kerr, Hateley (Vincent 84), McGowan, Curran (El Bakhtaoui 57), Holt Haber, Wighton Unused subs: Mitchell (gk), Duffy, Loy, Williams, Ross. Booked: McGowan (foul on Boyce), Gadzhalov (foul on Dow). Ross County 4-2-3-1 Fox van der Weg, McEveley, Davies (c), Fraser Chow, Routis Dingwall (Franks 76), Boyce, Gardyne (Schalk 61) Curran (Dow 61) Unused subs: McCarey (gk), Quinn, McShane, Dykes. Booked: Boyce (foul on Kerr), McEveley (foul on Curran), Dow (foul on El Bakhtaoui). Attendance: 4,742 (153 away supporters) Referee: Euan Anderson. Assistants: Alastair Mather, Sean Carr. Fourth official: Bobby Madden. Report: James Christie.
  12. The Dark Blues made two changes from last Saturday. Mark O'Hara and Rory Loy started in place of Yordi Teijsse, who was on the bench, and Greg Stewart, who was injured in training. New signing Faissal El Bakhtaoui was named as a substitute. Like Dundee County also ran up a 7-0 win in the Betfred Cup last week and their only change was Scott Fox replacing Aaron McCarey in goal. The game took a while to get going as both sides slugged it out in midfield without troubling the defences greatly. County were first to threaten when Jay McEveley broke down the left and crossed. Brian Graham miskicked and recovered to scoop the ball beyond Scott Bain, only for Kevin Holt to clear. Dundee responded by taking control in midfield and putting the home defence under pressure. The opening goal arrived after 13 minutes, beautifully crafted by two of the new boys. Danny Williams clipped a clever ball over the County defence allowing Mark O'Hara to run through on the right and hit a dangerous low cross into the goalmouth, where Rory LOY scored with a crisp, close range volley. The Dark Blues played with increased confidence after the goal, pressing the Staggies effectively in midfield where James Vincent and Paul McGowan in the holding positions were ably assisted by the hard work of the three advanced midfielders who harried County mercilessly as they tried to build attacks. Dundee always lookedcapable of extending their lead and Loy went close to a second goal when he drilled an 18 yard shot narrowly wide after good approach play by O'Hara and McGowan. Late in the first half Dundee put serious pressure on County with a series of corners. The Dark Blues movement at set pieces had been posing problems, and Jay McEvely gave away a penalty when he hauled Mark O'Hara down at the far post as Michael Duffy's corner came in. Rory LOY scored confidently from the spot, as the large Dee support behind that goal celebrated. Dundee almost added a quick, killer third goal. Mark O'Hara's run from midfield took him past two defenders and through with only Scott Fox to beat. After doing the hard part so well sadly he couldn't finish and just missed the outside of the post with his shot. The Dark Blues started the second half well, looking for a decisive third goal. Danny Williams combined neatly with Cammy Kerr before dribbling his way along the byline but Rory Loy couldn't get a shot away when the cross came in. County started to push Dundee back, and launched a series of high balls into the penalty area but the Dundee defence held firm against the aerial assault. The Dark Blues were secure on the flanks where the full backs, Cammy Kerr and Kevin Holt both had fine games. They had highly effective assistance from the wide players in front of them, Danny Williams and Michael Duffy. As a result the Staggies were forced to fall back on crosses from poor positions that Darren O'Dea and Julen Etxabeguren dealt with confidently. Just after the hour the Dark Blues grabbed the crucial third goal with a swift and ruthlessly executed goal on the break. James Vincent blocked McEveley's attempt from 30 yards and the Dark Blues raced up the field. Loy swept the ball out to the right allowing Duffy to run clear and roll a pass infield for Paul McGOWAN to score with a first time shot under Scott Fox. Scott Bain pulled off the save of the match to touch Michael Gardyne's curling effort round the post, but the Staggies scored from the resulting corner. The ball broke to substitute Craig CURRAN, 16 yards out and his deflected shot flew past Bain. In the remaining 25 minutes County put Dundee under sustained pressure, but failed to create clear chances. Dundee looked more composed in possession, and when they had the ball looked more dangerous. Faissal El Bakhtaoui replaced Danny Williams for the last 20 minutes, then Nick Ross came on for Michael Duffy to help the Dee see out the match. Mark O'Hara had a very impressive league debut and he set up a late chance by forcing his way through two tackles on the right. James Vincent then found Rory Loy, whose curling 18 yard shot was saved by Fox. Dundee opened the league campaign last year with a spectacular 4-0 win at Kilmarnock. This win had none of the fireworks that the Dark Blues served up that day, but it was an excellent, professional performance at a very difficult venue where Dundee have struggled in recent seasons. The Dark Blues were tight, hard-working and effective all over the park and took their chances well. The defence acquitted themselves well under some fierce late pressure, and the midfield was far more assured and incisive than the hosts, with Rory Loy taking the chance to show what he can do, both as a scorer and linking with the midfield. Many supporters might have been nervous looking at the line-up, with Kane Hemmings having been sold and Greg Stewart unavailable. However, today's team served notice that there is plenty of quality throughout the squad and fully deserved their hard fought win. Ross County 3-4-1-2 Fox Davies, Quinn (c), McEveley Gardyne, Routis, Woods (McShane 26), van der Weg (Franks 37) Schalk, Graham (Curran 64) Unused subs: McCarey (gk), Foster, Cikos, T Dingwall. Booked: Quinn (foul on Loy), McEveley (foul on O'Hara), Routis (foul on Loy). Dundee FC 4-2-3-1 Bain Kerr, Etxabeguren, O'Dea (c), Holt Vincent, McGowan Williams (El Bakhtaoui 72), O'Hara, Duffy (Ross 80) Loy Unused subs: Mitchell (gk), Teijsse, Gadzhalov, Curran, Wighton. Goals: Loy (13, 41 pen), McGowan (61). Booked: Williams (foul on Gardyne), McGowan (foul on Schalk). Attendance: 3,669 (840 Dees). Referee: Bobby Madden. Assistants: Graham Chambers, Anthony Cooper. Fourth official: Craig Napier. Report: James Christie.
  13. Injuries and suspensions forced Paul Hartley to make four changes. With Scott Bain suspended David Mitchell made his first start in goal. Julen Etxabguren and Thomas Konrad replaced the injured Kosta Gadzhalov and Paul McGinn, while Rory Loy replaced suspended skipper Gary Harkins, although in a more advanced role. Paul McGowan took over the captain's armband. 17 year old central defender Kerr Waddell was on the bench, making his first appearance in a senior squad. County made two changes. Martin Woods and Jonathan Franks came in for Jackson Irvine and Stewart Murdoch. The game got off to a breathtaking start and the whirlwind action didn't let up for the rest of the first half. In the second minute Cammy Kerr launched himself at a diagonal ball from Nick Ross, but couldn't keep his header from six yards down. Kerr nearly set up the opening goal when Richard Foster fell over and missed McGowan's through ball, but Rory Loy's shot on the turn from the cut back lacked the power to beat keeper Gary Woods. David Mitchell was quickly called into action when he had to beat away Alex Schalk's low cross shot. County then had a couple of corners, but it was the Dark Blues who opened the scoring with a fast break out of defence. Kane Hemmings' pass allowed Greg STEWART to run through the middle, check back onto his left foot and pass the ball around Woods and into the corner of the net from 18 yards, an impressively composed finish to an incisive move. Only two minutes later, with just eight minutes on the clock the Dee went two ahead. Kevin Holt headed a Stewart pass down into the goalmouth. The Staggies' defence hesitated and Kane HEMMINGS seized the chance in a flash, whipping a low first time shot past Woods. Stewart nearly added an instant third with another curling shot from the edge of the penalty area, but this one took a deflection that sent the ball wide. Disappointingly after some thrilling attacking the Dark Blues gave away a soft goal from a corner after 14 minutes. Martin Wood's delivery to the near post was firmly headed past Mitchell by the unmarked Andrew DAVIES. County threatened to grab a shock equaliser when Michael Gardyne broke free down the left, but Woods volley from the cross was high and wide. Dundee started to reassert their control of an open and hugely entertaining game in which neither defence looked entirely happy. The Dark Blues, however, had the edge in attack and threatened a nervous County defence with some slick moves. After 37 minutes Dundee deservedly extended their lead. A lovely, flowing move ended with Nick Ross finding Loy in the penalty area. With his back to goal he played the ball back to Hemmings who tried a curling shot towards the top corner, only for LOY to divert the ball with a glancing header that left Gary Woods helpless as the ball sailed into the back of the net. County had looked particularly vulnerable down their left flank, and after left back Richard Foster was booked for a dreadful foul on Stewart he was removed from the action before the referee did it for him. Stewart Murdoch replaced him, but the Staggies were given a tough time down that wing by Kerr and Stewart for the whole match. The game was threatening to drift away from County, but to their credit, they dug their way back into the match with an important second goal just before the break. Alex SCHALK burrowed his way into the penalty area from the left, checked back onto his right foot and curled his shot towards Mitchell's top corner. The keeper got a hand to the ball, but it looped under the bar to confirm that plenty more work would be required from the Dee in the second half to clinch the win. Shortly after the break there was a lengthy delay while Darren O'Dea was treated for a head knock, but happily he was able to continue. Hesitancy in the home defence gave Gardyne a half chance, but he slashed his shot well over the bar. Dundee then twice went close from corners. First, McShane cleared Hemmings' header off the line and from the next corner O'Dea headed just over the bar. County threatened when Dundee failed to clear a free kick and Mitchell had to move smartly to block a Davies shot. The game went through a flatter spell for 20 minutes. It was hardly tedious, but it lacked the fireworks we'd seen earlier, and would see again in the closing stages. Dundee always looked dangerous on the ball, without creating clear chances during this spell. Yet again a central defender was forced out of the game through injury as Julen Etxabeguren was replaced after 72 minutes by Darryll Meggatt. The substitute stepped effectively into the defence, making some important challenges and interceptions. Dundee's attacks became increasingly dangerous as County started to chase an equaliser. Kerr broke up an attack and charged forward only to be felled by a bad foul by Martin Woods. Stewart's free kick found Hemmings, whose header shaved the outside of the post. Kevin Holt saw his header fly just too high after great play by Cammy Kerr, who was celebrating his new contract with a swashbuckling display down the right wing. Craig Wighton replaced Rory Loy after 79 minutes, and six minutes later he scored his first goal of the season. Nick Ross's pass gave Greg Stewart the chance to cut in from the right wing. His shot from just inside the area was blocked, but the ball fell to WIGHTON who smashed the ball past Woods from 10 yards. With the points safe the Dark Blues turned on the style in the last few minutes and it was no surprise when they scored a classy fifth. Another swift break out of defence saw Wighton move the ball on to STEWART, who shimmied into the penalty area, dancing one way, then the other, tying the defence in knots before applying the coup de grace with a cool finish into the corner of the goal from 16 yards. The keeper didn't even bother to move. Stewart was then replaced by Jesse Curran for the final minute, receiving a well deserved standing ovation from the Dark Blues' supporters. At the final whistle the crowd rose to applaud the Dee and the tannoy blasted out "That's Entertainment" by the Jam. Dundee might not have been all that convincing in defence at times in the first half, but they were very impressive in attack. It was that extra flair and confidence that proved too much for a County team that never gave up, but who were second best on the day. The Dark Blues and the Staggies have shared 20 goals equally in the three games this season. That's entertainment indeed, and this was just the sort of fare to send the supporters home with a smile. Dundee FC 3-4-1-2 Mitchell Konrad, Etxabeguren (Meggatt 72), O'Dea Kerr, McGowan (c), Ross, Holt Stewart (Curran 94) Loy (Wighton 79), Hemmings Unused subs: Gourlay (gk), Arturo, Colquhoun, Waddell. Goals: Stewart (6, 92), Hemmings (8), Loy (37), Wighton (85) Booked: Konrad (foul on Boyce), Holt (foul on Franks) Ross County 4-4-1-1 Gary Woods Fraser, Quinn, Davies, Foster (Murdoch 43) Franks (Dingwall 76), Martin Woods, McShane, Gardyne Schalk (Graham 69) Boyce Unused subs: Fox (gk), Robertson, Goodwillie, De Vita. Goals: Davies (14), Schalk (44) Booked: Davies (foul on Loy), Foster (foul on Stewart), Martin Woods (foul on Kerr) Referee: Andrew Dallas. Assistants: Alasdair Ross, Ralph Gordon. Fourth official: Steven McLean. Attendance: 5,095 (217 County supporters) Report: James Christie
  14. The Dark Blues made four changes following the defeat by Celtic. Gary Irvine, Thomas Konrad, Gary Harkins and Nicky Low dropped out of the starting line up. In came Kevin Holt, Julen Etxebeguren, Riccardo Calder for his first start and Rory Loy who was making his home debut. County made only one change from their last league game, captain Andrew Davies returning in the place of Scott Boyd. Sporting their Battle of Loos commemorative shirt Dundee started well with Riccardo Calder looking very lively on the left wing. County were relieved to escape an early scramble in their six yard box after a good build up by Calder and Greg Stewart. Stewart was full of skill and invention on the right and neatly beat Davies to run clear, but a yard outside the penalty area he was pulled down by the County captain, who was duly booked. Dundee couldn't take advantage of the free kick and were punished when the visitors broke upfield to open the scoring after 18 minutes. Irvine raced over the half way line and gave Liam BOYCE the chance to nip past McGinn and score with a low, angled drive. The goal was rather against the run of play, but Dundee roared back with an equaliser inside a minute. STEWART ran in from the right, beat a man and slid the ball inside Scott Fox's near post from 16 yards in a neat variation on his trademark curling finish across the keeper. After those fireworks the game settled into a drabber midfield slog that suited the forceful pressing of County's midfield. It seemed likely the first half would provide no more goals, but Dundee made life unnecessarily difficult by conceding two bad, late goals. Marcus Fraser's inswinging cross from the right was nowhere near any County forwards. Scott Bain looked favourite to claim it, but the ball glanced off James MCPAKE's head and into the net past the helpless keeper. The third goal was little better from the viewpoint of Dundee's defence. Irvine's deep cross from the left found Michael GARDYNE who scored with a looping header over Bain. A 3-1 deficit was harsh on the Dee, but they had only their own poor poor defending to blame. The first half had been fairly even, but after the break the Dark Blues rose to the challenge of saving the game. They took charge from the start and never eased their grip on the game. An early goal was crucial and when it arrived eight minutes into the second half it completely changed the game and the atmosphere. Stewart whipped a free kick into goalmouth where Davies pulled McPake down to pick up a second yellow card and concede a penalty. Rory LOY wasn't fazed by a lengthy delay, and calmly stroked the spot kick past Fox. County immediately pulled off Brian Graham and sent on Scott Boyd to shore up the defence. From then on the match was played almost entirely in the visitors' half as the Staggies sat deep and tried to stave off the equaliser as wave after wave of Dark Blue attacks poured into the penalty area. Calder was seeing plenty of the ball and excited the crowd with his skill and determination. He should have scored when Stewart's corner found him unmarked, but he volleyed over the bar from six yards. Calder was unluckier when Fox pulled of a great diving save to keep out the youngster's low drive after he had linked cleverly with Stewart. The pressure on the Staggies' goal was relentless and life didn't get any easier for their defence when Gary Harkins replaced Kevin Thomson, who was booked in the first half and looked to be in danger of picking up a red card. Within a minute of the substitution Dundee were on level terms, thanks to an outstanding assist and an equally good finish. Paul McGinn picked up the ball just inside the Dundee half and set off on a great run, beating two men and slotting a perfect pass through for LOY, who had made a clever diagonal run, and finished off a classy move by rifling the ball across Fox and inside the far post. It looked like Dundee might win a second penalty when Stewart went down under Murdoch's challenge, but the referee Mr Thomson was unimpressed. Rhys Healey replaced Kane Hemmings in the closing stages during which Dundee pummelled the Staggies' defence. Kevin Holt nearly snatched a late winner but a terrific save by Fox turned his fierce low shot round the post. Deep into injury time Harkins came agonisingly close to a winner when his header beat Fox but Robertson saved a point for the Staggies by lunging to hook the ball off the line. After being two goals down at half time a draw might seem like a good result. However, a one-sided second half meant that County were by far the happier side at the final whistle. There was much to enjoy in Dundee's attacking play, and this would certainly have been a win for the Dark Blues if very poor defending hadn't let them down in the first half. After conceding eight goals in the first seven games Dundee have lost nine goals in their last two games. Riccardo Calder and Rory Loy had very good home debuts, and Greg Stewart posed a huge danger to County's defence throughout. The combination play of Loy, Stewart and Hemmings gave the Dark Blues plenty of attacking threat. With Calder also in the mix County didn't have a moment to relax, especially in the second half. On a poignant afternoon for the club and the city this was certainly a spirited and entertaining match, but it could and should have been better for the Dee. Dundee FC 4-4-2 Bain McGinn, Konrad, McPake (Konrad 72), Holt Stewart, Thomson (Harkins 67), Ross, Calder Hemmings (Healey 78), Loy Unused subs: Gourlay (gk), Meggatt, Dryden, Curran Goals: Stewart (19), Loy (53 pen, 68) Booked: Thomson (foul on Fraser), Stewart (dissent) Ross Co 4-4-1-1 Fox Fraser, Davies, Robertson, Reckord Gardyne, Irvine, Martin Woods (Murdoch half time), De Vita (Foster 71) Boyce Graham (Boyd 53) Unused subs: Garry Woods (gk), Franks, McShane, Dingwall Goals: Boyce (18), McPake og (37), Gardyne (42) Booked: Davies (fouls on Stewart and Hemmings) Sent off: Davies (two bookings) Referee: Craig Thomson. Assistants: Kylie McMullan, Gordon Crawford. 4th official: David Lowe. Attendance: 5,128 Report: James Christie
  15. The only change from last week's win was Paul McGowan dropping out through injury; Gary Harkins came in to play as the solo striker. Injuries left the Dee with an inexperienced bench; Calvin Colquhoun appeared in the match squad for the first time. Dundee's best move of the game came in only the second minute when Jim McAlister worked a slick move on the left with Greg Stewart before driving a dangerous low ball across County's goal that evaded his team mates. The fans saw little to entertain them in a first half in which both defences were largely untroubled. The Staggies showed commendable urgency, but they often tried to move the ball forward too quickly and lacked the composure to get through the Dark Blues' defence. Dundee on the other hand were usually too intricate and didn't have the cutting edge to worry County. The only chance of the first half fell to County. Thomas Konrad's clearance cannoned off Boyce's face. Gardyne had space to shoot, but crashed his effort well over the bar. The Dark Blues suffered a blow shortly before the break when Greg Stewart had to be replaced by Craig Wighton. Stewart had been taking some heavy challenges, especially one from behind by Quinn. After that the Dee's top scorer didn't look happy and it was no surprise when he had to go off. In the second half the Staggies gave their supporters something to cheer as they stepped up the tempo to great effect. Style was the last thing on their minds as they put in 49 minutes of relentless, frantic hard work. Their hyper-energetic game unsettled Dundee who could never get a passing game going. Every time a Dundee player got the ball he was mobbed by the furiously pressing Staggies. The Dark Blues were fortunate not to fall behind shortly after the break. Following a corner De Vita fired over a dangerous second ball, finding Boyd beyond the far post. Scott Bain spread himself to block and Boyd's shot deflected off the inside of his leg, flying just past the post. Bain then had to sprint from the penalty area to clear a long ball aimed for Irvine. County were on top now and Irvine was unlucky when Bain pulled off a superb save to turn his snapshot from 18 yards onto the post. Kevin Thomson had done a good job in his holding midfield role in the first half but was struggling after the break. It was worrying to see him forced to leave the pitch after an hour, with Simon Ferry replacing him. Shortly after Thomson's departure County grabbed the goal they'd been threatening since the break. After 65 minuts Boyce gave Gardyne the chance to burst into the penalty area and he pulled the ball across Bain to give RECKORD a tap in. Dundee never looked like pulling the goal back. County were fired up and utterly relentless in their grafting and pressure. It was ugly, but nobody is interested in winning plaudits for style when they are fighting for their livelihoods at the bottom of the table. Dundee's tentative efforts to chase an equaliser merely gave the home side more space. The Staggies were unfortunate not to add to their lead when substitute Jervis headed against the bar from De Vita's cross. The Dark Blues' forays into the home penalty area were rare and they weren't able to create a clear chance in the whole game. James McPake moved up front towards the end, and the Dark Blues did force County back in injury time. However, the Staggies held out comfortably and were well worth the win. Today the Dark Blues just didn't have the composure or cutting edge to deserve anything from the game. It was unfortunate they lost the two players who offer those very qualities. The defence did reasonably well, but the midfield lost out in the midfield battle and simply couldn't create anything of note in the final third. Dundee have at least a couple of weeks without a game, and they will need that time to try and get players fit again for the run in to the split. Ross County FC 4-4-2 Brown Fraser, Quinn, Boyd, Reckord Gardyne (Cardle 68), Irvine, Woods, De Vita Curran (Kiss 84), Boyce (Jervis 74) Unused subs: Reguero (gk), Meite, Sernas, Carey Goal: Reckord (65) Booked: Curran (foul on Konrad), Woods (foul on Stephen McGinn) Dundee FC 4-2-3-1 Bain Paul McGinn, McPake, Konrad, Dyer Stephen McGinn, Thomson (Ferry 60) Harris (Black 81), McAlister, Stewart (Wighton 44) Harkins Unused subs: Letheren (gk), McBride, Gadzhalov, Colquhoun Booked: Paul McGinn (foul on Woods) Referee: Andrew Dallas Attendance: 3,413 (484 Dees) Report: James Christie
  16. Paul Hartley made four changes. Alex Harris started, after joining on loan from Hibs for the rest of the season. Scott Bain and Kevin Thomson returned from injury while Paul McGinn came in after serving a one match suspension. Schenk, Konrad, Harkins and Dyer all moved onto the bench. Each side had a half chance in the first three minutes. Careless Dundee defending gave Boyce room in the penalty area, but he shot too high. At the other end Paul McGowan found himself in space 20 yards out. He chipped the keeper, but the ball drifted over the bar. After only six minutes County were reduced to 10 men when Dunfield was dismissed for a high challenge on Paul McGinn. Dundee came close twice before County had a chance to change their formation. Stewart's pass let Harris reach the byline. and McAlister met his cutback with a low shot. Reguero saved with his feet and Clarkson blasted the loose ball across goal and just past the far post. Clarkson then sent Stewart racing into the penalty area, but under pressure from the advancing keeper he hooked his shot over the bar. The visitors reacted by withdrawing winger Joe Cardle and sending on central defender Scott Boyd, with the experienced Richard Brittain moving forward to midfield. Brittain's free kick from 25 yards forced Bain to make a good low save down by his post. Dundee continued to dominate and looked dangerous whenever they came forward although County were defending in depth. A fine Thomson pass sent Irvine into the box, but he shot just wide into the side netting. In a rare County attack another spot of carelessness allowed Kiss to fire in a shot that was deflected wide for a corner. As the pressure mounted on County Clarkson passed up a golden opportunity to get back on the goal trail. He blazed past the post after Stewart had set up what looked like an easy chance. Dundee kept up fierce pressure on the County defence, but couldn't force a breakthrough before the interval. The visitors made a more adventurous start to the second half. They spent the first few minutes in the Dundee half, without looking remotely dangerous, or even actually reaching the penalty area. The Dark Blues were soon back on the attack and finally opened up the County defence after 51 minutes. Harris played a good pass out to Irvine, whose cross was swept high into the net from 12 yards by Jim MCALISTER. Dundee were in full control now and looking likely to add to their lead. Luka Tankulic came on for Clarkson, and was quickly involved. He played a fine pass inside the left back to relase Harris. The cutback caused chaos in the County defence and Tankulic smashed a shot against the outside of the post. McPake and Reguero needed lengthy treatment after this incident, and play was held up for four minutes while the County keeper had his head bandaged. When play resumed Reguero was quickly under pressure and struggled to deal with a succession of crosses. Amazingly Dundee managed to concede a dreadful goal when they looked totally dominant. County had offered nothing in attack since the break, but Jackson was able to break down the right after McGowan lost the ball with a poor first touch on the halfway line. Only McGinn was back when Kiss's cross came over. The ball flew over his head and CURRAN volleyed in the equaliser at the back post. Dundee had managed to turn promising pressure into a soft equaliser when there was absolutely no danger. James McPake seemed to be struggling after he had received treatment, and was replaced by Thomas Konrad when County scored. The rest of the match was agonisingly frustrating for the Dark Blue supporters. Dundee had endless pressure as County pulled everyone back. The Dee still managed to find plenty of space, especially on the right where Reckord's positioning allowed McGinn and Harris far too much room. Nevertheless the final ball into the box was seldom good enough. Gary Harkins replaced Paul McGowan, but couldn't provide the moment of magic Dundee needed so desperately. Harris drove a low ball across goal with both McAlister and Tankulic lunging but just failing to turn it into the net. Tankulic laid the ball off to give McAlister a great chance from 12 yards, but he couldn't find enough power to beat Reguero. Another low cross by Harris caught out the defence; both Tankulic and Stewart swung at the ball but neither could connect. Stewart then fired a low ball across from the left, but McAlister couldn't quite reach it. Finally, deep into injury time, Stewart blazed over after making space. The final whistle brought a few boos from the home support, and delighted applause from the away fans after their team had dug out an unlikely point. Dundee's failure to clinch the points today was astonishing. Against 10 men they had non-stop pressure, and enough chances to win several games, but they contrived to throw away two points. The defence had very little to do, but never looked entirely convincing when County did move forward. Although the Dee midfield were in control, and kept the game flowing towards the County goal, Dundee just couldn't turn all the pressure into a win. Newcomer Alex Harris showed plenty of promise and combined well with Paul McGinn. During a frustrating second half the pair of them always looked as if they might provide a winner for the Dee, but it wasn't to be. This was an ideal opportunity to get back on track after a poor spell and a draw was a very poor and disappointing result in the circumstances. Dundee FC 4-2-3-1 Bain McGinn, McPake (Konrad 68), Davidson, Irvine Thomson, McAlister Harris, McGowan (Harkins 78), Stewart Clarkson (Tankulic 55) Unused subs: Schenk (gk), MacDonald, Carreiro, Dyer Goal: McAlister (51) Booked: McPAke (foul on Boyce), Irvine (foul on Saunders) Ross County 4-5-1 Reguero Brittain, Saunders, Quinn, Reckord Curran (Jervis 76), Irvine, Kiss, Dunfield, Cardle (Boyd 15) Boyce (Ross 69) Unused subs: Brown (gk), Carey, Maatsen, MacLeod Goal: Curran (64) Booked: Brittain (foul on McPake), Saunders (foul on Stewart) Sent off: Dunfield (straight red, foul on McGinn) Referee: Craig Thomson Attendance: 5,017 Report: James Christie
  17. As expected, Gary Harkins came in to play his first game at Dens since his return from Kilmarnock. He moved into the slot between the midfield and the strikers and Nicky Riley dropped onto the bench. County's more direct game came closer to bringing a goal in the first half than Dundee's more patient build up. The home defence had a minor alarm in the first minute when Toshney's short pass back forced Douglas to move sharply out of his goal to clear. Dundee had a couple of neat passing moves that foundered with poor final balls. County had a penalty claim when Kovacevic caught out Dundee by kicking the ball ahead and charging after it. Douglas rushed out, Kovacevic overhit the ball and went down as the keeper dived at his feet. The County fans shouted for a penalty, but the referee, Mr McKendrick was unimpressed. Rocco Quinn nearly managed to get clear when Toshney slipped, only for Brian Easton to snuff out the danger with a great interception. County put Douglas under pressure with two fierce long range shots. Munro's volley was well parried and Irvine cleared. However, Douglas fumbled the second, from Kovacevic, but redeemed himself with a marvellous block to deny Morrow. Harkins was combining well with Baird, who was playing deeper than Nish, but Dundee couldn't find good enough final balls to seriously trouble the County defence. The closest Dundee came in the first half was a 20 yard Harkins shot that flew a foot over the bar after good work by McAlister. Dundee had their own penalty claim when Baird flicked the ball onto Munro's arm, but again the referee gave the defence the benefit of the doubt. Both sides made changes at half time. County sent on German striker Steffen Wohlfarth in place of midfielder Alex Cooper. Dundee pushed Harkins further forward as both sides tried to force a goal. There was now more space in midfield and the game started to open up. County had two early chances in the second half. Toshney seemed to stumble as Morrow ran at him, but the County striker's attempted lob over Douglas was poorly executed. Next, Gallagher's misplaced pass was intercepted by Vigurs who sent Wohlfarth clear. He tried to chip Douglas, but his touch was far too heavy and the ball drifted well over the bar. Barry Smith made his first substitution after 57 minutes, replacing the ineffective Nish with Riley, who went to the right wing. Harkins moved up alongside Baird and McAlister went to the left as Dundee switched to a more orthodox 4-4-2. However, it was County who looked more threatening. A dangerous Brittain low cross caused problems for Douglas, who couldn't take the ball cleanly and had to block Morrow's shot. Wohlfahrt's knockdown then found Morrow, whose angled shot came off the outside of the post. Dundee were having just as much of the game, but they still couldn't make the passes and crosses in the final third that might have opened up the visitors' defence. Dundee's best chance of the match fell to Brian Easton, when Gallagher's knock down from a free kick found him. He had time to take aim from 15 yards, but shot a yard over the bar. A match that had always been competitive turned rougher as both sides started to push for a victory. Brittain came close with a 25 yard free kick, then Gary Irvine threw himself at Vigur's shot to block, with the visiting players claiming the ball had struck his arm. Baird had a chance for Dundee when he found himself in space 15 yards out. He didn't realise he had time to bring the ball down and tried unsuccessfully to head it over Brown. Barry Smith sent on Mark Stewart for Kevin McBride for the last 13 minutes as Dundee threw caution to the winds. A neat move outside the penalty area involving Stewart and Harkins ended with a free kick to the Dee, when they would much rather have had the advantage. The frustration was compounded when Dundee wasted the free kick by going offside and County raced away to score the opener. LAWSON made space well and hit a great rising shot. It came down off the bar, somewhere in the neighbourhood of the line and then spun out. Both sides played on, and then it gradually dawned on the players that the officials had between them decided the ball had landed over the line. The confusion turned to anger, but the referee was adamant. That wasn't the final moment of controversy. Toshney headed a free kick into the goal mouth. Stewart seemed to have a shooting chance five yards out, but he ended up on the ground as the County defence flung themselves at him and the ball. There was a shout for a penalty, but the referee wasn't having it. As the three minutes of injury time were coming to a close County rubbed salt in Dundee's wounds by breaking away for a second goal. The ball was hoofed hard and long out of defence over the halfway line. It fell between Douglas and GLEN, who managed to nick it past the keeper and score into the empty net. This was a terribly disappointing result and performance after the promise shown on Sunday. There may have been an element of guesswork by the officials, but three things are inescapable. County had the better chances, Dundee failed to create enough danger from some good moves, and the controversial opening goal only occurred because Dundee made a mess of a free kick in a good position. Gary Harkins showed plenty of skill on his return, but it was never in a position to really hurt County. Time and again Dundee would work the ball neatly around in midfield and then blow it with a poor final ball. County's hard working, hard running and highly streetwise approach may not have been particularly pretty, but it was certainly effective. Dundee FC 4-3-1-2 Douglas Irvine, Toshney, Gallagher, Easton McBride (Stewart 77), Davidson, McAlister Harkins Nish (Riley 57), John Baird Unused subs; Alex Baird (gk), Benedictus, Conroy, Lockwood, Morgan Bookings; McBride (foul on Vigurs), Douglas (dissent following first goal) Ross County 4-3-2-1 Brown Kovacevic, Munro, Boyd, Oikonomou Lawson, Quinn, Brittain Cooper (Wohlfarth 45), Vigurs (Kettlewell 82) Morrow (Glen 67) Unused subs; Fraser (gk). Kettlewell, Hailwault, MacPhee, Ross Goals; Lawson (80), Glen (92) Bookings; Brittain (foul on McAlister), Vigurs (stopping Riley taking free kick) Attendance; 4,726 Referee; John McKendrick Report; James Christie
  18. A point away to Ross County is a good result, but this should really have been a win. Until a head injury to Kyle Benedictus disrupted an impressive Dundee defence the Dee had been in control and looking more likely to extend their lead than concede an equaliser. However, Gary Glen scored after 74 minutes and County finished the stronger side. The only change from last week's derby was Colin Nish returning from suspension to replace the injured Steven Milne. The game took ages to get going as both sides struggled to keep possession and keep their feet on a slippery pitch. There were promising signs for Dundee as McBride and Davidson looked more composed and effective in the middle of the park than their opponents. It was County who came closest to scoring in the first half hour after Gallagher and Irvine collided going for the same ball. The ball broke to Cooper, who hit a shot from wide on the left that would have caused Douglas little trouble, but it took a huge deflection off Irvine and spun past the post with Douglas wrong footed. As the half wore on Dundee started to look more dangerous and took the lead after a good spell of pressure. Matt Lockwood and Jim McAlister worked the ball neatly into the danger area. County seemed to have ended the danger when the ball was hacked clear. However, Iain DAVIDSON took the ball 30 yards out and sent an unstoppable shot ripping into the top corner. The goal spurred Dundee on and Riley shot narrowly wide after a fine move by McAlister and Nish. County looked most dangerous from set pieces and Douglas had to be alert to grab a Munro header from a corner at the end of the half. The second half started with County flinging a few crosses into the Dundee box that caused little trouble. The Dark Blues took charge and then had a prolonged spell on top in which they should really have sown the game up. The ball was mainly in the County half with Dundee probing and pressing for the crucial second goal. The Dundee defence was calmly mopping up the occasional County attack, and the ball would be quickly returned to put the home side under pressure. Frustratingly Dundee's final ball was never good enough and County were able to hang on. 20 minutes from time Kyle Benedictus and Colin McMenamin had a nasty head knock going for a high through ball. McMenamin was able to continue, but Benedictus went off for treatment. While he was off Tokely headed wide from Kettlewell's cross. The momentum of the game was changing now, and even though Benedictus returned he was obviously not happy. Before Dundee had the chance to reorganise they conceded an entirely avoidable equaliser. Nicky Riley did well to track back and win the ball. He should just have turned the ball out of play, but tried to play the ball up the line. It was blocked and when the cross was swung into the penalty area Dundee couldn't clear it. The ball pinged around the box before it broke to GLEN who rammed it into the roof of the net from 10 yards. Kyle Benedictus left the pitch after the goal and Lewis Toshney replaced him. Inevitably the goal lifted County. They stopped giving the ball away and they started to put Dundee under serious pressure for the first time. Right at the end both teams had chances to win the game. First, substitute Ryan Conroy headed McAlister's cross into the path of Nish, but the big striker couldn't connect properly three yards out and the ball bobbled wide. At the other end Richard Brittain played a smart one two with McMenamin to get a shooting chance, but instead of shooting across Douglas he tried to beat the keeper at the near post and only found the outside of the post. Dundee will certainly be frustrated that they failed to press home their advantage when they were well on top, but County will probably be disappointed they couldn't grab a winner when they came charging back after their equaliser. Neither team really had the quality they needed to win the game. Dundee just couldn't quite find the right ball to set up a clear chance when they were dominating for long spells in the second half. County never showed the confident fluency that was a feature of their game last season and their late attacks showed far more desperation than composure. It was good to see Colin Nish return for his ability to take the ball and bring others into the game. He combined well with Baird, but neither striker had a clear sight of goal until the very end when Nish poked the ball wide. The build up play was good, but the final ball needs to be better. Time and time again Dundee failed to hit the right pass to open up the County defence. This was a good point, but it should have been three excellent points. Ross County FC 4-4-1-1 Brown Tokely, Boyd, Munro, Fitzpatrick Kettlewell, Fotheringham (Glen 60), Brittain, Cooper Vigurs McMenamin Unused subs; Fraser (gk), Bateson, Quinn, Corcoran, MacPhee, Porritt Goal; Glen (74) Booked; Fotheringham (foul on Baird), Vigurs (dissent) Dundee FC 4-4-2 Douglas Irvine, Benedictus (Toshney 76), Gallagher, Lockwood Riley (Conroy 78), McBride, Davidson, McAlister John Baird (Stewart 88), Nish Unused subs; Alex Baird (gk), McGregor, Reid, Buchan, Boyle Goal; Davidson (36) Booked; Irvine (foul on Cooper), Gallagher (foul on Brittain) Attendance; 3,129 Referee; Alan Muir Report; James Christie
  19. Barry Smith had remarked on the Dee's need to be streetwise in the SPL, and there was no doubt that the tough and disciplined County were well ahead of Dundee in the canny, streetwise stakes. Dundee made three changes from last Sunday's derby, and a series of positional switches. Colin Nish and Mark Stewart were brought into the attack, replacing John Baird, who dropped to the bench and Nicky Riley who is injured. Neil McGregor returned to central defence, with Kyle Benedictus moving to right back. Gary Irvine moved forward to right midfield, James McAlister to left midfield, while Ryan Conroy went to left back in place of Matt Lockwood who was a substitute. In an edgy and physical first half County's best chances came from corners. They should have taken the lead after five minutes when Dundee's slack defending allowed Boyd to turn the ball against the bar after Tokely had headed it on. At the end of the half another corner triggered a scramble only a couple of yards from the Dee goal, with the home side were relieved to escape. Dundee looked most dangerous when they kept the ball down and used Colin Nish to link with Stewart and the wide players. In the first half James McAlister looked comfortable and effective on the left of midfield. Right on the half time whistle good play my McAlister allowed Irvine to burst into the penalty area, but he shot against the post. That was the closest Dundee scoring in the whole match. Indeed, it was their only worthwhile chance. Kyle Benedictus took a head knock late in the first half. He seemed to be still affected by it when he came out after half time and was quickly replaced by Lewis Toshney. The first half had offered little enough in the way of excitement and entertainment, but sadly the entertainment dipped even further after the break. Both sides struggled to keep possession and trouble the defences. A goalless draw was starting to look the most likely outcome, but County managed to grab a winner 20 minutes from time with a needlessly conceded penalty. Lewis Toshney allowed Marc Corcoran to get past him and as he moved into the penalty area he went down as McGregor leaned on him. The referee immediately awarded a penalty and Richard BRITTAIN hammered the ball home. County were now content to sit back and had little trouble coping with Dundee's attacks. The Dark Blues had been struggling to play composed football in the second half, and after the goal their efforts were largely frantic, and without the quality needed to threaten County's goal. Dundee rarely got players into good positions in the last third, and when they did manage it the final balls were poor. The few shots Dundee managed were snatched at and nowhere near the target. Colin Nish looked as if he will be an asset to Dundee when he builds an understanding with a partner striker. Apart from the penalty incident Lewis Toshney had an impressive debut, but unfortunately limped off late in the match. Dundee supporters will be very disappointed with today's result and performance, and rightly so. There was a lack of cohesion and understanding, which is not surprising considering the large number of new players who have arrived since the start of the season. There was the odd glimmer of promise today, but rapid and significant improvement will be needed. Dundee FC 4-4-2 Douglas Benedictus (Toshney 47 (Baird 84)), McGregor, Grassi, Conroy Irvine, O'Donnell, Davidson, McAlister Nish, Stewart (Boyle 60) Unused subs; Alex Baird (gk), Lockwood, Milne, John Baird, Boyle, Webster, Toshney Bookings; O'Donnell (foul on Vigurs), Nish (dissent), Davidson (foul on Vigurs) Ross County 4-1-4-1 Fraser Tokely, Munro, Boyd, Fitzpatrick Brittain Quinn, Kettlewell, Vigurs, Corcoran (Duncan 83) McMenamin (Morrow 76) Unused subs; McCarthy (gk), Cooper, Kovacevic, MacPhee, Ross Goal; Brittain (70 pen) Booking; Vigurs (timewasting) Attendance; 4,905 Referee; Steven McLean Report; James Christie
  20. Two goals from Michael Gardyne and an own goal by Gary Irvine gave Ross County a convincing and deserved win. In the absence of Jamie McCluskey Dundee looked unbalanced and lacking in penetration. They had no answer to the more direct style of County, whose defence never looked in danger of conceding a goal. Mark Fotheringham came in for the injured McCluskey, but it wasn't a straight swap. Kevin McBride was sitting deep just in front of the defence, with Fotheringham and O'Donnell in front. As a result Dundee had plenty of the ball, but little penetration. The afternoon got off to a bad start when County took the lead after eight minutes. Benedictus made a good tackle on McMenamin 35 yards out, but GARDYNE pounced on the loose ball, ran through, checked inside Irvine and slipped the ball past Douglas. Dundee then settled into a lengthy spell of neat possession with no end product. County seemed happy enough to watch the Dee passing the ball round the midfield without getting anywhere. One move produced 34 passes without the ball ending up in the penalty area. Gary Irvine did try his luck with a curling shot from 20 yards, and it took a marvellous save from Fraser to tip the ball round the post when it seemed to be heading into the top corner. County's direct approach looked far more dangerous as they broke fast when Dundee moves came to nothing. Kevin McBride carelessly lost the ball to McMenamin, who gave Vigurs the chance to shoot from the penalty area, but Douglas saved well at the expense of a corner. Quinn should have put County two up at the end of the best move of the half but he stabbed the ball wide after Gardyne had cut inside to open up the defence. The first half might have been fairly even, but the Staggies came out determined to finish off the match. They had Dundee on the ropes for the first 20 minutes of the second half and only eased off with the game won. Gardyne managed to wriggle free on the left and Douglas did well to save his cut back. The keeper did even better only a minute later saving brilliantly from McMenamin who had ran clear of the defence. The second goal wasn't long delayed, and it came from a fine diagonal pass from Brittain to Vigurs, who hooked the ball over Douglas from the byline. McMenamin seemed sure to nod into the empty net, but a desperate challenge from Gary IRVINE only succeeded in turning the ball in for an own goal. The final goal came four minutes later when Vigurs fired a hard, low cross to the near post where GARDYNE flicked the ball home. Dundee immediately sent on Riley and Hyde for Milne and Fotheringham. This made them look more balanced, but little more threatening. With the match safely won the tempo dropped. There was still time for a spot of utter stupidity from Kevin McBride and Rocco Quinn, which rightly saw the pair of them sent off. McBride challenged Quinn, with a daft and totally unnecessary swipe. Fortunately he didn't connect properly, but Quinn reacted angrily, the two players squared up to each other and others pitched in. Both McBride and Quinn had already been booked, so it wasn't a very difficult decision for Mr McKendrick to show them both a second yellow and a red. Any sympathy the players might have received vanished when they launched into each other again at the mouth of the tunnel and they had to be pulled apart by the coaching staff. After that Dundee probed away, and took the ball into the County penalty area a few times, but never created a convincing opening. County came close to a fourth when Vigurs' 25 yard free kick came down off the crossbar, and Craig shot wide in the scramble that followed. At the end the Dundee players congratulated their opponents, then got off the pitch quickly to leave the home side to celebrate with their fans. There was very little for the few Dundee supporters to enjoy today. Gary Irvine did well with the exhausting task of covering the right side of the pitch largely single handed. Kyle Benedictus made many good tackles and interceptions against difficult opponents, but none of the midfielders or strikers made any real impression on the match. County showed why they are deserved champions; a tough, resolute defence and hard working, intelligent midfielders who never stop running and pulling defences out of position. 31 league games undefeated is an astonishing run. Some might say they're not the best champions the 1st Division has seen, but they have been far and away the best team in the division this season and thoroughly deserve the title. Ross County 4-3-2-1 Fraser Miller, Boyd, Munro, Morrison Brittain (Craig 84), Lawson, Quinn Gardyne (Corocoran 84), Vigurs McMenamin (Morrow 84) Unused subs; Malin, Morrow, Craig, Corcoran, Fitzpatrick Goals; Gardyne (8, 64), Irvine og (60) Bookings; Quinn (foul on McBride, then squaring up to McBride), Vigurs (foul on O'Donnell) Sent off; Quinn for two bookings. Dundee FC 4-4-2 Douglas Irvine, McKeown, Benedictus, Lockwood Fotheringham (Riley 64), O'Donnell, McBride, Conroy Milne (Hyde 64), McIntosh Unused subs; Gibson (gk), Weston, Hyde, Riley, Chisholm Bookings; McBride (fouls on McMenamin & Quinn), Benedictus (foul on Benedictus) Sent off; McBride for two bookings. Attendance; 4,350 Referee; John McKendrick Report; James Christie
  21. A draw might have been a frustrating result, but it was a fair outcome in a tough and bruising contest. Dundee came back strongly after an awful opening 20 minutes. Yet again they conceded the first goal, but a penalty after half an hour by Ryan Conroy levelled the scores. From then on Dundee had plenty of the ball, but didn't have the control in midfield or the quality of delivery into the box to create clear chances for the strikers. Kevin McBride, the former Hibs and Falkirk player, was the surprise trialist in the home line-up today, replacing Ross Chisholm in midfield. The other change was Carl Finnigan, who was given his first start, replacing Steven Milne, after coming off the bench to score on Tuesday. The Dee were rocked when County took the lead with their first serious attack after 10 minutes. Morrison's deep cross beyond the far post was knocked back across the goalmouth by Brittain for KETTLEWELL to tap in a simple chance. The goal gave County a huge surge of confidence and they came storming at Dundee. They nearly grabbed a second only two minutes later when the home defence failed to clear a high free kick and Rab Douglas had to save Scott Boyd's close range shot with his legs. County's passing and movement had a nervous Dundee reeling for the next few minutes. Gradually the Dee regained their composure and worked their way back into the game. The visitors were no longer having things their own way. Jamie McCluskey's run through the County midfield was ended 25 yards out by Kettlewell, whose shocking challenge from behind was clearly aimed at the man rather than the ball. Carl Finnigan was coping well with Grant Munro's physical defending, and earned a penalty after half an hour with a good run into the box that was ended by Kettlewell's trip. Although Mr Tumilty was well placed he didn't award the penalty until he'd checked for the assistant referee's signal. With Matt Lockwood relieved of penalty duties, and Steven Milne on the bench the responsibility fell to Ryan CONROY. He slammed a low shot into the corner in a confident style that suggests he will continue to take the penalties. Dundee were the better side now, and County never again looked as dangerous as they had in their excellent opening spell. However, it was only occasionally that Dundee could put together the sort of fluent passing move that looked like opening up the defence. For long spells in the second half both teams were throwing themselves into the battle. Play raged around the midfield, but bumps, bruises and prostrate bodies were far more common than clear openings. Gardyne fleetingly broke clear to run at Douglas from 30 yards, but promptly fell over with no-one anywhere near him. Colin McMenamin had a header from a corner, which deflected off his teammate Boyd and bounced off the top of the bar. Apart from those two incidents midway through the half the game largely consisted of Dundee failing to get through the County defence, with the visitors set up for hitting on the break. Carl Finnigan, who was having a fine debut, looked dangerous and the combination of Irvine and McCluskey on the right promised much, but in the end Dundee couldn't produce another goal. Finnigan might have won another penalty when he wriggled into the area and was wrestled to the ground by Munro, but the referee decided to give the defender the benefit of the doubt, a generous gesture given the constant moaning he'd had to endure from the County defender. In fairness to Mr Tumilty this cannot have been a pleasant game to referee. He was inclined to let play flow, while the players seemed happier digging lumps out of each other and snarling at the officials. County survived a couple of scrambles in their goalmouth in the closing minutes. A cross-shot from Milne evaded Finnigan and bobbling agonisingly wide of the post. However, for the most part the visitors' defence coped well with the pressure and weren't nearly as stressed as the Dark Blue support would have hoped. Kevin McBride had a tidy debut, but it is too early to say whether or not he'll be the partner that Stephen O'Donnell needs to provide the Dee with a solid central midfield. Carl Finnigan showed he will be an asset. He linked well and showed a willingness to compete and run at the defence in spite of the bruising attentions of his marker. County were quite happy with the draw and Dundee didn't play well enough to force a win. They couldn't sustain a composed passing game, and the few high quality moves they did produce were usually kicked off by ambitious passes that weren't easy to repeat. This was a game Dundee badly needed to win to remain credible challengers, but for the fourth successive match they conceded the first goal and handed the initiative to their opponents. They've been able to salvage draws from all four games, but these early goals and dropped points have left Dundee a distant 3rd favourite for promotion. Dundee FC 4-4-2 Douglas Irvine, Weston, McGregor, Lockwood McCluskey, O'Donnell, McBride (Milne 74), Conroy Hyde (Bayne 83), Finnigan Unused subs; Gibson (gk), McKeown, Chisholm Goal; Conroy (pen 31) Bookings; Weston (foul on Gardyne), Douglas (tripping McMenamin when he was playing on after the whistle) Ross County 4-3-2-1 Fraser Miller, Boyd, Munro, Morrison Brittain, Lawson, Kettlewell Gardyne (Corcoran 77), Vigurs McMenamin (Craig 84) Unused subs; Malin (gk), Quinn, Flynn Goals; Kettlewell (10) Bookings; Kettlewell (foul on McCluskey), Brittain, Munro (foul on Finnigan), McMenamin (playing on after the whistle) Attendance; 5,003 (297 away fans) Referee; Mike Tumilty Report; James Christie
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