Since our victory over Partick at the end of the December, the team have failed six times to send the home fans away from the stadium with that winning feeling. When the final whistle was blown yesterday though, all that was forgotten as the supporters witnessed the team net a last-minute winner, just moments after conceding an equaliser, to boost our chances of Premiership survival.
“Playing at Dens, it hasn’t been great for us in results, everybody knows that, fans know that. But it’s been a real good week for us. We lost a couple of big players during the week in Roarie (Deacon) and Josh (Meekings) but the boys that came in were fantastic,” said McCann.
“It’s always nice to get a home win, especially starting off, because what’s gone before really doesn’t matter going into these last five games. It’s where pressure maybe kicks in a wee bit.
“This is the second time I have been in this position going into the last five games where we needed a win to give us something to really drive with and they have come up trumps again. I am so happy and so proud of them.
“As I said to them before the game: five games, 15 points available, and we start off with a win against St Johnstone at home and take care of business in the next game. We have done that now, we have ticked that box, and it feels good.
“Questions might have been asked of us when we lost a goal. It happened against Hearts when we lost an early goal. The boys just seemed to say: ‘No, we are not accepting it’. And I am so happy for them because they worked hard for that.”
McCann went on to speak about Sofien Moussa who despite being the target for some light-hearted humour from the fans, produced the good with two goals to take his Premiership tally to seven goals this season.
“I thought he was brilliant, I really did. His hold-up play was exceptional and two huge goals for us.”
Hector Nicol’s song ‘Up Wi’ The Bonnets’ pays homage to the great Dundee side who became the Champions of Scotland for the first and only time on the last day of the of 1961/1962 season.
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you can now read the matchday programme in full along with a few extra pages from that night’s Sporting Post. The programme includes notes and comments, the team line-ups, that days fixtures and a hell of a lot of advertisements. Who cares about adverts though? It’s the programme from the day we won the league!
Most present-day Dundee supporters weren’t lucky enough to see the side in action that Bob Crampsie described as the best footballing team that Scotland ever produced but that doesn’t stop fans of all ages celebrating them as heroes to this day. We are reminded of these players and their accomplishments on a regular basis and rightly so. For the fans that were there to witness this marvellous event, a mere mention of this will bring a wry smile along with the words, “I was there.”
Saturday, 28th April 1962 was the day when Dundee stood at the top of Scottish football. We were the best team in the county and about to clinch our greatest-ever achievement.
With the sun shining down on Muirton Park, over 20,000 Dundee supporters would make the short trip to Perth as they hoped to see to the coronation of the new kings of Scotland.
Dundee went into the match needing only a point to clinch their first title. A dramatic midweek had seen them beat St Mirren at home while closest challengers Rangers stumbled to a 1-0 defeat against Aberdeen. St Johnstone also needed a point, but to stave off relegation.
Ian Ure recalled in his book, Ure’s Truly, that: “A message was passed to the players that they could collect £50 each if thy made it a draw. The idea was treated with contempt and only served to double our determination.”
Dundee had previously lost the League Championship on the last day of the 1947/48 season with defeat away to Falkirk but there would be no similar heartbreak for players and supporters this time around. The Gods were smiling on the Dark Blues and the team grabbed their shot at glory with both hands, an emphatic 3-0 win (Gilzean 2, Penman) sealing the title.
When the final whistle went, the team were mobbed by wave after wave of Dundee supporters as their joy at seeing The Dee finally winning the top prize was too much for them to remain in the terraces.
The heroes were lost among the thousands who swarmed the turf before being hoisted upon the shoulders of delirious fans. Some players attempted to make their way up to the directors’ box only to be swallowed up by jubilant Dees in the Muirton stand.
For the 6,000 or so St Johnstone fans in attendance, the sight of Dundee fans holding a party on their own patch compounded their misery. They sat 5th bottom of the league at kick off time, only to find themselves relegated to the Second Division on goal average (this being before the introduction of goal difference) 90 minutes later.
The celebrations continued through the night and beyond for everyone of a Dark Blue persuasion. Thousands lined the streets of Dundee to welcome the team bus home and cheer them as manager Bob Shankly, captain Bobby Cox and the rest of the immortals acknowledged the huge support from the balcony of City Chambers.
That night’s Sporting Post headline was one of the simplest in the illustrious history of that publication but ‘It’s Dundee’s League’ said all that you needed to know and remains a joy to read nearly six decades on.
Goalkeeper Pat Liney later admitted that no one at the club expected to be challenging for the title that year.
“I remember it like it was yesterday especially as our triumph was so unexpected,” he said.
“If you had said to me at the start of the season that we would be top four or five then we would have settled for that.
“We started the season not expected to win the League and we also did not do too well in the League Cup sections that opened the season. There was no big thing that just happened, we clicked together and with Rangers two points behind, we ended up at St Johnstone needing a point to win the League.
The team were a close-knit unit with seven of them living in one big house in Roseangle, a vital factor in Dundee’s success, according to Pat.
“We lived together, played football together, went to the dancing together and became great friends together,” he recalled.
More importantly, they became Champions together and, for that, we Dundee fans will forever be grateful.
St Johnstone are all but safe and despite a not reaching the top six, they can play out the remainder of their matches without the stress of looking over their shoulder with the fear of being dragged into the bottom two.
The teams only met just over a month ago when The Saints basically dismantled a lacklustre Dundee team 4-0, in what can only be described as a horror show for the Dens Park faithful but utter delight for the travelling away fans.
This time around, we will hopefully see a more experienced Dundee team on the field as they prepare to drag themselves away from the bottom two places.
We caught up with St Johnstone Fans in the lead up to Saturdays match about their recent soon-to-be departures from the club, their feeling on 'that' incident last time around and most importantly, who will leave the ground with the points.
We have only recently locked horns at Dens. St Johnstone ran over an out of sorts Dundee team that day 4-0. What was your take on that match?
What a brilliant day that was! That’s the sort of performance we know we can get from this group of players, we just haven’t seen it enough this season - hence our position in the league.
Some of the Dundee defending that day might also be some of the worst I’ve seen in some time. As the game wore on, the gap between the midfield and defence was huge which allowed us to be a little more direct, which really worked in our favour.
We can’t speak about that match without the incident at the end. My opinion is, emotions were riding high and it was basically handbags at dawn. How did you see it?
Just handbags really. I can understand McCann’s frustration, however, no need for the slap but when red mist descends....
I thought the 2 match bans were harsh, although McCann’s has now been reduced. Despite sometimes it seemed that you might have been dragged into a wee scuffle near the bottom of the table, The Saints have knuckled down to get the points on board to ensure that never happened. You will now fight Motherwell for seventh place. With them reaching the Scottish Cup Final, can you see them having one eye on that and your team leapfrogging them?
Think a lot of credit has to go to Tommy Wright once again for steering us clear of any relegation battle, which looked likely at one stage.
Here’s hoping they take their eye off the ball a little bit, but I can’t see it happening. They went up to Pittodrie the week before the League Cup Final and ran out easy 2-0 winners so I can’t see it being any different this time.
This week has seen Steven MacLean join Hearts on a pre-contract. Is this a blow to see him leave?
Absolutely. First and foremost, he is a club legend and is absolutely adored by Saints fans. After all, he’s a Scottish Cup winner. He’s a player I feel has embodied everything we’ve been about the last few years.
I think his experience will be a big loss - you can see the impact he had on Stevie May and Chris Kane. However, and I may be proved wrong in time but from what we’ve seen the majority of this season, he isn’t good enough anymore. Whether or not letting him go is the right decision...we’ll see. One thing that irked me about this transfer was that this was announced with him holding up a Hearts scarf. I always feel that this should be left until the players time at the club he is transferring from has come to an end. Do you hold the same feelings?
In this instance, Steven MacLean can do what he wants. But generally, yeah. Shows a real lack of respect to current employers and photo shoots aren’t urgent and can wait until the player has moved on.
Allan Mannus has also signalled that his time is up in Perth. Will it be tough for someone to fill his boots?
Absolutely, I may be slightly biased, but I feel he’s been the most underrated keeper in the league in recent times. He's made some vital saves at vital times - one that sticks in my mind is against Motherwell in 2014. Think we’d won once in 6 and Motherwell were 1-0 at the time, he saves one-on-one, Michael O’Halloran goes up the other end and scores and we win 2-1. We then go on to win 5 of next 6, only dropping points at Dens!
Hopefully Zander Clark can really kick on now, and maybe even see young Mark Hurst step up as a back up.
What injury worries have St Johnstone got leading up to Saturdays match?
From the top of my head, Chris Kane, Denny Johnstone, David McMillan and Callum Hendry are all missing - leaving Steven MacLean as our only fit senior striker. We’re also without Stefan Scougall and Blair Alston. Unsure on Brian Easton situation but imagine he’ll miss out too.
Thankfully, we should see a different Dundee team. We will have McGowan and Kamara back so we will actually have a midfield! Will your fans travel from Perth expecting the same as last time? Who do you think will win?
I certainly hope not! Dundee are a different team defensively with those two in midfield, so I imagine it’ll be a lot lot closer this time. If I had to pick one team, on recent form I’d choose Saints, but, that’s exactly when we’ll see a 5-0 Dundee win!
Now there isn't much to the programme itself, it's pages are filled with 'Player Profiles' but it's still worth publishing. Also, Keep a keen eye out for the choice of Dundee player they pick in our squad page!
We take you back to 23rd June 2001 when Dundee took on FK Sartid at the Gradski Stadium in the Intertoto Cup 1st Round 2nd Leg.
The first leg had seen just 6,511 fans attend Dens Park with the game ending 0-0. It was filled with controversy as the Sartid players time wasted for most of the match. Many of them were stretchered off only to spring back into life when they were off the field in a tactic that left Dundee players, management and fans frustrated.
The second leg would also be filled with controversy that had then manager Ivano Bonetti seething at the end of the match.
Just eight Dundee fans made the trip to Serbia after the Foreign Office advised supporters not to travel who were taking into account the NATO air-strikes on Belgrade during the Kosovo conflict back in 1999.
7,500 fans packed the stadium with both teams knowing a win for either would hand them a tie against Munich 1860 in the next round.
Fabian Caballero put Dundee ahead after four minutes but Bulgarian referee Marinov Svetlozar would award Sartid two very soft penalties in a three-minute spell which were converted by Vladimir Mudrinić.
Marcello Marrocco dithered on the edge of the penalty box and was easily disposed of by Sasa Antunovic who then went down easily when Jamie Langfield committed himself, earning the keeper a yellow card. The next penalty was given when the referee adjust Chris Coyne had handled the ball in the box but that was a highly dubious decision.
Then with around seven-minutes to before half time, Sartid added a third courtesy of a Srdan Aleksic header.
Dundee did find a way back into the match in the second half when Caballero beautifully set up Juan Sara at the back post to nod home Dundee’s second. Unfortunately, any notion of a comeback was killed by the inept referee when Caballero was given a straight red card despite many believing the striker was the actual one being fouled.
That was it for Dundee and the home team would add two more goals from Demir Ramovic and Ivan Krizmanic to give them a 5-2 victory and a place in the second round.
Chris Coyne told the The Scottish Daily Mail that: “The Sartid boy lashed the ball straight at me and when it hit my arm, I just knew the ref would give a penalty. We were getting so frustrated, working our socks off for absolute nothing and most of the bookings were for talking to the referee.”
Ivano Bonetti said after the match: “I have never seen refereeing like that in my life. If I had known before the competition started that we would be faced with referees like that, then we would not have entered the tournament.
“The standard of officiating was a joke. We have worked hard and wanted an honest match today. But, with a referee like that, in my opinion, you can't have that.
“We will make a report which will go to UEFA - I saw things before the match and at half-time. Because of what I saw, I was not confident that we could win this game even before it started, and I told my colleagues Dario Magri and Jim Thomson how I felt at the time.”
The Italian then added: 'I want to be sure before I say anything more in public.
“I have not seen the UEFA observer - I don't even know what he looks like. Not even when I was a child have I seen refereeing like that - it makes me sick.
“Caballero was sent off when he thought it would be a free kick for us. The second penalty he awarded against us was also laughable.
“It seems to me like there was one measure for Dundee and one measure for Sartid. I also thought it was a little strange that the fourth official - Zoran Fipcic - was Yugoslavian.
“We have lost all this time coming here and preparing for this game for nothing. Instead of encouraging clubs to enter this competition, referees like that will discourage teams. Caballero was crying his eyes out in the dressing room.”
Bonetti also decided to call time on his Dens Park playing career and would only put his boots back on in an emergency.
“I think I'm more or less finished with playing. I want to dedicate all my time to just being a manager.
“It's difficult to do both jobs because you need so much time to train properly to ensure you are in the right physical condition.
“It's also hard enough to think about tactics when you are just sitting on the bench. But when you are playing you just don't have an opportunity to do that.”
The teams that day were:
FK Sartid: Lukic, Mrdak, Antunovic, Glogovac, Vaskovic, Mirosavljevic, Mudrinic, Aleksic, Bogdanovic, Radosavljevic, Socanac
Dundee: Langfield, Smith, Coyne, Wilkie, Garrido, Marrocco, Artero, Rae, Romano, Caballero, Sara