Sofien Moussa scored two minutes from the end to cancel out Steven MacLean’s equaliser and give Neil McCann’s men 3 vital points in a 2-1 win against St Johnstone at Dens Park in the SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership.
St Johnstone hit four past Dundee in a bad-tempered 4-0 win at Dens Park in the SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership. Goals from Jordan Piggott (OG), Chris Kane (2) and Blair Alston gave Tommy Wright’s men the win, while tempers flared after the final whistle.
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!
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