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Dundee Are Right In Mix For Top Six


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Dundee are snapping at the heels of St Johnstone after their hard-earned but deserved victory over St Mirren in Paisley.

The Dark Blues were second-best to the Buddies in the first half but completely turned things around in the second to merit all three points. Now, without too much fuss or attention, they have closed the gap on the other Saints from Perth to just a solitary point. That progress is down to a five-game unbeaten run that has been strung together in the wake of their Dundee derby hammering at the hands of United.

It is to the players’ enormous credit that they have responded in such a positive manner to such a negative result.

Yet more resilience was on show against St Mirren on Saturday, particularly after the hosts opened so brightly and scored a terrific opener through the impressive Kenny McLean. Goal machine Gary Irvine’s magic feet equalised for the visitors after 53 minutes then Dundee grabbed the winner thanks to a deflected shot from Iain Davidson on 69 minutes.

Happy Dundee manager Paul Hartley said: “It is the first comeback we have had in a game going back over a long period of time. We weren’t at our best but we stuck to our task and showed a great desire not to get beaten. We are more than happy with the three points even though we know we can play better and that our goalkeeper (Scott Bain) kept us in the match during the first period of the game.

“In the first half, we kept giving the ball away and I thought we were scrappy. When we did get the ball we didn’t get into good positions or threaten St Mirren. But I thought the second half was better and we showed what we are all about in terms of grit and determination.

“I said to the guys that we’ll take that because a win’s a win sometimes and you don’t always play well.

“As I’ve said before we have had a great response since the derby. I told them to keep it going and we didn’t change a lot about our play. As a manager you tend to think about how you can change in order to do better but we didn’t change a lot.

“We told the players to keep working hard and things would turn for them and it’s turning now.â€

The Dens men had made two changes to the team that lined up against Kilmarnock for the midweek 1-0 win at Dens.  Into the side came Kostadin Gadzhalov and captain Kevin Thomson, with both Alex Harris and Luka Tankulic dropping down to the bench.

As the hosts made a blistering start, Dundee goalie Bain was the hero after just two minutes when he dived to his left to palm out a netbound header from Yoann Arquin after an excellent freekick into the box by Stephen Mallan. Bain raced to the Dark Blues’ rescue once again just a couple of minutes later when he made an excellent point-blank save to deny the unmarked Arquin, whose should really have burst the net with his shot from eight yards.

Up at the other end, central defender Gadzhalov – up for a corner – sent his header just wide of the post on seven minutes. Jim McAlister then had a go from 20 yards but St Mirren keeper Mark Ridgers saved comfortably before Gary Harkins, who had been off the pitch receiving treatment to a head wound for several minutes, finally returned to the action.

On 25 minutes, Dundee’s tactic of bunching together at corners almost paid off when space was created for James McPake to send a header just wide of the far post after Harkins had picked him out.

The home team took the lead on 40 minutes. It was a great run and left-foot strike from McLean that gave Bain no chance from 20 yards. However, from a Dundee perspective it was criminal that he was not closed down as he made his way towards the edge of the box, with the defence backing off way too easily.

The visitors hit back almost immediately when Harkins brought a brilliant save out of Ridgers with a snapshot but the first half finished with the Buddies ahead. Four minutes after the interval, McPake hooked ball over his own bar before Kenny McLean nodded over for Saints from right in front of goal.

On 53 minutes, Irvine grabbed the equaliser thanks to great build-up play from first Paul McGowan and then Greg Stewart, who unselfishly flicked a pass sideways to Irvine for the tap-in.

St Mirren claimed for offside but referee Steven McLean was having none of it. It was then 2-1 to the visitors on 69 minutes. There was further fine lead-up work done by Stewart, who ran across the front edge of the box before threading a pass to Davidson.

Davisdon’s shot took a wicked deflection off the Buddies’ Jason Naismith to put the ball out of keeper Ridgers’ reach and the 700-plus travelling fans were celebrating. On 75 minutes, John McGinn should have scored for Saints with a header that flew over the bar from just yards out, then Marc McAusland did almost the same thing just a minute later.

With 10 minutes remaining Arquin got a second yellow and a red card for a dive when challenged by McPake then Dundee lost Davidson to what looked like a serious ankle injury, the big man going off to hospital.

That was a miserable way to end waht was a great day for Dundee as they grabbed exactly the kind of result that should worry St Johnstone and possibly even fifth-placed Hamilton Accies, who visit Dens this Saturday.

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Finishing in the top six just might happen.

But as long we remain well out of the danger area, I will be more than satisfied.

Both PH and the team will be aware that it is possible .....and I would be surprised if that is not now their new target.

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Godammit.. so it is....

There are *full payment* charts at the foot of the article which gives all payments made to Premiership teams, but not the actual totals... looking at it, it seems by the end of the year the difference between 7th and 6th is £90,000

Some difference!!

(and an additional 90k for every position above 6th until 3rd place when it leaps again!)

The difference between 6th and 1st is almost a million and a half!

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