After grabbing a point against Hearts on Easter Sunday, the Dee travelled to Glasgow with a spring in their step and managed to capitalise on it by producing a solid display that resulted in an unlikely, yet thoroughly deserved, clean sheet and point at a venue we haven't been victorious at since 2001.
Manager Neil McCann was ecstatic with his players 'exceptional' performance and was quick to praise everyone of them.
“To a man we were exceptional and the willingness to work for each other was great, we had a huge trust in the game plan and followed up on a terrific performance against Hearts, even though we had to alter how we approached the game, but I thought we were well worth a point tonight.
“Mark O’Hara has a great performance out wide, and it’s a great chance at the end where you hope one of your strikers might get a toe on it, but I can’t be too unhappy with a point.
“There’s not many teams that will come here and get that. Brendan made all 3 subs and went for it but we stayed organised.
“It’s a great point. If you look at how structured and solid the team was, we should be coming here confident and believing in the work we put in, they never really cut us open and Elliot pulled some great saves off.
“I’m delighted that Steven is still here, and it’s a big accolade that he wants to stay here after the offer. He said he wasn’t interested and I daresay that’s had a positive effect in the dressing room.
“I’m so happy for the team and the fans tonight!”
With the distinction between midfielder, winger, forward and striker constantly blurred in the DFC line-up, let’s begin by looking at the two players who were seldom, if ever, deployed as out and out strikers.
Breaking into the team at the tender age of 16 and being lauded by managers, players, pundits and fans alike, the lad brave enough to own the (CC) 33 shirt, Craig Wighton, really has to be commended for taking any part in our season whatsoever. Battling to overcome injury for most of 2017/18, that Craig not only made a contribution over the closing weeks of the season, but actually managed to stamp his authority on a couple of matches along the way, gives hope that a young lad who has long had the expectations of The Derry heaped upon his shoulders, is about to fulfil his potential. Hopefully next season is the one where Craig finally makes the long hoped for breakthrough.
In fairness to Faissal El Bakhtaoui, who scored for fun in League One for Dunfermline Athletic prior to moving to Dens Park, the Moroccan has never really been given an extended run ‘up top’ in his time at Dundee. With an eye for the spectacular, El Bak may not have been a prolific scorer in Dark Blue, but often the goals he has provided have been top drawer. A 30-yard bullet that raged in off the crossbar against Dundee United as we dumped them out of the League Cup undoubtedly a high point of the season.
Unfortunately, that goal and his stinging long distance stunner against Celtic the season before saw a player who has great touch and good pace be seduced by his own hype. Turning himself into a one-trick pony, wild shots began peppering the Cox and Shankly stands as El Bak looked to repeat his heroics again and again and again. Slowly the diminutive attacker painted himself as a bit part, impact sub with no impact whatsoever and who, on occasion, seemed to hugely frustrate his manager by also failing to follow positional instructions on the park. Rumour has it El Bak will be off soon and in all probability, it will be better for all concerned if he is.
“Who was that torn jeans wearing, backward baseball cap sporting vision of forward playing prowess?” Was the cry that could be heard as this unrecognisable player destroyed three haphazardly dayglo adorned incompetents before striding towards goal. However, as the gangly target man stared off into the distance and dreamed of his own reflection, it became apparent it was a more familiar and at times catastrophic Canadian we were watching.
Marcus Haber almost single handedly turned around Dundee’s fortunes on his arrival halfway through the 2016/17 season. The presence we’d been sadly lacking up front provided by the deceptively strong, if undeceptively lazy sitter misser. Goals flowed, but so did chances passed up and it’s possible to suggest that if we hadn’t been so starved for a forward-thinking player up to that point, maybe we wouldn’t have been quite so excited by his arrival. A late season fall out with Neil McCann (yes, another on) suggested the part-time model/full time poser was preparing to pack up his thoroughly naff clobber before the season had even properly begun. But that utterly stunning display where he bossed the United defence, appeared to reveal a player with something to prove.
However, if Marcus is one thing, it’s inconsistent. Injury did massively hamper his season, but some weeks his absence was felt even when he was on the pitch. An early goal in a loss away to Hibs and an even earlier goal in a 2-0 win away to a ten-man Saints side were the other remaining highlights from a player who is at least twice as frustrating as he can be effective.
What’s left to be said about Sofien Moussa? Arriving as a late substitute in an away League Cup group game against Raith Rovers, ‘The Moose’ announced himself on the Scottish game with an instant goal, a questionable tap dance routine on the stand-front wall and an immediate booking. Goals were the big man’s game when he picked his spot against Buckie Thistle and slammed home a hattrick - famously adorned with an overhead kick - against an utterly awful Cowdenbeath.
However, when the real ball came out, Moussa went into hiding. Or at least his goals did. Utterly ineffective in front of the big rectangular net like thing, the likeable Tunisian worked his socks off, tussled with everyone within a four-mile radius and fell foul of just about every referee he met. Cool as a cucumber from the penalty spot, Moussa became a quivering wreck from open play and with every open goal passed up and every two-yard chance spurned it seemed to become more and more obvious that Sofien wasn’t up to snuff… other than the fact that, as a team, we were much worse when he didn’t take to the field.
I suspect that the big lad still has nightmares about the worst pass-back in Dens Park history, which gifted Hearts a goal out of nothing, but as the season progressed, if you wanted someone to get on the end of a chance, Moussa was your man. Even if what he got on the end of those chances was his rear-end, his genitals, or, to be fair, his right foot as he scored the opener against St Johnstone at Dens – not that he knew much about it. His late headed winner in the same game was undoubtedly Moussa’s moment of the season, but (and whisper it) in the end, Sof did good.
Brought in on loan from Shrewsbury Town to be the fox in the box we so craved, the man with at least one too many names, A-Jay Leitch-Smith, answered that call…sometimes. Early signs were good, AJ making the strikers’ runs we’d so lacked, with his two counters against St Johnstone at Dens suggesting a barrowload of goals were headed our way. What transpired however was the inconsistency that had doubtless made the blonde bombshell available in the first place. A missed penalty against Partick Thistle at Firhill where we causally capitulated soon after was the frontman’s nadir, but two moments stood out as his zenith in Dark Blue – a long run and composed finish from distance to secure three points at McDairmid Park and his intentional deflection that sealed a last gasp comeback win on the pathetic plastic of New Douglas Park. A-Jay leaves with our thanks, but not all that much more.
As Celtic and Hibernian played pass the parcel with Dundee’s players on mid-season transfer deadline day, the unwanted Dundee supporting Hibs striker (and ex-Arab) Simon Murray was fanfared in as Dundee’s triumphant loan capture. Quickly winning the backing of an initially sceptical Dee support Murray proved to be a tireless, if one dimensional spearhead of the Dundee attack.
Desperate, possibly too desperate to put his tangerine past behind him, Murray looked to shoot at every available opportunity and if he had one-real failing in his game, it was his unwillingness, or inability, to lift his head and look for a team mate in a better position.
Now back at his parent club, while the deficiencies in Simon’s game are all too obvious to see, if nothing else he can lay claim to having scored two late goals in a comeback thriller against Partick Thistle and the goal in Dingwall that 100% confirmed that Dundee will be playing top flight football again next season. Not a bad legacy for such a short cameo.
And let’s not forget the two youngsters who performed well enough in the Development League to force their way into the first team. Matt Henvey, by spurning a chance to grab a point against Hibs on his debut from the bench, at least proved he knew how to get into goal scoring positions. Something he confirmed by tucking away his first goal for the club on the same afternoon that A-Jay nabbed his late winner in the hammering rain at Hamilton. Unfortunately, the young striker would also be injured by a shocking tackle as he prodded the ball home, robbing him of a chance to make a bigger impact.
Leaving Cedwyn Scott, the young Englishman who proved a goal scoring machine in the Development team after his mid-season arrival. Although he wasn’t really given enough minutes on the park to judge if he’s ready, or capable of the step up long term.
Marcus Haber - D
Sofien Moussa - C+
Faissal El Bakhtaoui - D-
Craig Wighton- C+
Simon Murray - C-
A-Jay Leitch-Smith - C-
Cedwyn Scott – impossible to tell, but on what little we saw - D
Matt Henvey - and for that goal at Hamilton alone - C
Pittordrie Stadium is the home to Aberdeen FC and in 1978, became the second all-seater stadium in Britain, after Clydebank.
The club have played here from day one but earlier this year, the club were granted approval to move to a new 21,000 seated stadium at a site in Kingsford. It’s yet unknown when work will begin and when they will leave Pittordrie.
The main stand was constructed in 1925 and then in 1968, further investment seen the stand become all-seater. It was at this time that the name of the stadium was changed from Pittordire Park to Pittordrie Stadium.
The stadium became an all-seater in 1978 and the last major redevelopment came in 1993 when a two-tier stand was built at the Beach end.
Dens Park or its name new name due to a sponsorship deal, The Kilmac Stadium at Dens Park has been the home to Dundee since 1899 following the clubs move from Carolina Port.
The record attendance at Dens Park occurred in 1953 against Rangers when a massive 43,024 supporters fill the stadium.
Th main stand was designed by Archibald Leitch and was opened in 1921. Apart from the South Enclosure and the Provost Road end having a roof put over it’s head, the ground had not seen much of an overhaul to it until 1999 when both stands behind the goal were demolished and new modern stands were built.
The ‘Provie’ Road end was then renamed The Bobby Cox Stand and the TC Keay End, The Bob Shankly Stand. These stands were erected in just 82 days as the club battled to meet the Scottish Premier League’s new seat-capacity guidelines. The club were under pressure to meet the demands of the Premier League or face expulsion from the top-flight but in November 1998, the club were given the green light to procced with the construction early in the new year with the Scottish Sports Council Lottery Sports Fund and the Football Trust fronting half of the £2.6 million needed for the project.
It had been announced in 2016 that our American owners had purchased land at Camperdown with intent to build a new stadium for the club. This was confirmed by them in early 2017 with the plans for the new layout being released to the public in September later that year.