Dundee 0
Dunfermline Athletic 1
League (Premier League)

0 - 1

League (Premier League)
Wednesday, February 21st, 2001
East End Park
Attendance: 6,113
7:45 PM Kick-off

None. Barry Nicholson (13)

Team Managers
Ivano Bonetti
Jimmy Calderwood

Starting Eleven
1. Marco Roccati
2. Barry Smith
22. Chris Coyne
26. Walter Del Rio
4. Marcello Marrocco
14. Gavin Rae
18. Javier Artero
25. Beto Carranza
33. Claudio Caniggia
11. Willie Falconer
15. Steven Milne
Marco Ruitenbeek .2
Jason Dair .3
Justin Skinner .4
Andrius Skerla .5
Andy Tod .18
Barry Nicholson .21
Ian Ferguson .8
Scott Thomson .6
Chris McGroarty .26
Stevie Crawford .9
David Moss .14

3. Jamie Langfield
20. Lee Wilkie
28. Marco Russo
30. Goran Zujovic
16. Michael Yates
Scott Y. Thomson .20
Gary Mason .23
Marinus Dijkhuizen .38
Lee Bullen .10
Michel Doesburg .2

Lee Wilkie for Beto Carranza (44)
Michael Yates for Steven Milne (44)
Marco Russo for Marcello Marrocco (65)
Lee Bullen for David Moss (65)
Michel Doesburg for Chris McGroarty (85)

Willie Falconer
Andrius Skerla (51)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Tom Brown (Referee)
Roddy Cobb & Stuart Macaulay (Assistants)
Colin Hardie (Fourth Official)

Match Report

Dunfermline, who were visitors. to Casablanca in the winter break, reinforced their reputation as a club going places in the domestic scene with a victory that saw them leapfrog Hearts into fifth place in the SPL table.

However, the capital city side have the near-instant opportunity to regain the high ground when the sides meet at Tynecastle on Saturday. And, after watching the Pars stretch their impressive recent sequence of results to just one defeat in their last 11 outings, watching Tynecastle boss Craig Levein will be taking nothing for granted.

Dundee, who went into last night's Dens Park encounter missing eight first team men through injury and suspension, then lost Beto Carranza and Steven Milne in the first half, as well as Marcello Marrocco after the break, will be viewing the visit of champions Rangers on Saturday with trepidation.

Jimmy Calderwood sympathised. "It's difficult when you lose so many players, and maybe if the likes of Juan Sara and Georgi Nemsadze had been playing things might have been different.

"That tends to happen in football. It wasn't so long ago that we were really struggling, but now everything is going smoothly and we've hardly a single injury to concern ourselves with.

"This was a big, big win for us and I believe if we can go to Tynecastle at the weekend and pick up all three points there, too, then we are going to be very difficult to keep out of the top six.

"Our aim at the start of season was simply to avoid relegation but the campaign has been a very successful one and we are now at the stage where we can look at the top six as a realistic target."

Dundee manager Ivano Bonetti, by contrast, was struggling to put a bright face on his problems So many injuries, so much bad luck, it is hard for me to know what to say to my players.

"The situation was bad enough anyway and then we go and lose two players early on and have a third get to the stage where he is only able to play at a fraction of his capabilities.

"There was some skill from my players but for me there was very little quality in the game and it was disappointing. Steven Milne will definitely miss the Rangers game, as will Alessandro Romano, who has had to return to Italy with a recurrence of his problem (pancreatitis)."

"That is obviously a big blow for us because it is a serious condition but I will carry on giving the young players the chance to show what they can do.

"People ask me why I have not recalled Patrizio Billio and there are many reasons for this, some which I cannot say because it would not be fair to the player.

"The fact is Patrizio is on the transfer list and, even in the situation we are in just now, there are other players I wish to play ahead of him. This result obviously makes it harder for us to finish in the top six but we can still do it and are not looking at failure as a possibility."

Matchwinner Barry Nicholson reckons his side can travel to Tynecastle on Saturday with confidence.

"Home form has always been very strong but we proved tonight that we can make the big wins away to," he said.

"The confidence in the dressing room is sky-high and, with the way the manager has us organised, we are a very difficult side to beat."

The visitors started where they had left off against Celtic in the Scottish Cup tie when they seized the lead in only the 13th minute.

Scott Thomson laid the ball into the path of teammate Barry Nicholson at the edge of the Dundee box and the midfielder's snap shot deflected off the legs of Marrocco and beyond a bamboozled Marco Roccati.

It was the Pars' ninth goal in four games and one which afforded them the breathing space they needed to settle.

It was perhaps just as well, for Dundee, playing with three up front in the shape of Claudio Caniggia, Milne and Willie Falconer, had started brightly. They forced a corner on the right when a neat turn from Caniggia had Andrius Skerla scrambling to recover and more than happy to knock his cross behind.

Carranza then tried to find the former World Cup star from the set-piece but sent his centre in just too high and the ball was cleared to safety.

Referee Tom Brown had to retire midway through the first half when he sprained his wrist after being struck by a fiercely hit shot from a Dunfermlíne player. His place was taken by fourth official Colin Hardie. The hold-up clearly did not faze the Dark Blues because they came as close as possible to snatching an equaliser within seconds of the restart.

Milne played Falconer into space and the veteran striker tested Marco Ruitenbeek with a dipping shot across the keeper's body which he did well to push wide.

Falconer was thwarted by the Dutchman again just minutes later when his back post header was blocked at point-blank range.

Carranza and Milne, both clearly struggling, went off just before the interval, to be replaced by Lee Wilkie and Michael Yates.

It left an unfamiliar-looking Dundee midfield but, for all that, it seemed to work well. Wilkie headed just over from an Artero cross and went even closer thanks to a fine through ball from Caniggia.

The Scotland under-21 internationalist did all the hard things well, racing into space then collecting the ball in his stride only to shoot into the side-netting when a square pass to Falconer would surely have brought the equaliser.

Dunfermline, perhaps reminded just how slender their lead was, pushed forward and went close through an Andy Tod header.

Dundee replied in kind with Falconer winning a corner from Artero's high ball from the right. They were unable to make it count, though, and when substitute Marco Russo shot wide at the end of a probing run it was clear their chance had gone.

Skerla (trip on Caniggia) and Falconer (dissent) were booked.

Match report written by The Courier

Squad Statistics (as at February 21st, 2001)

2000-01 All Time
Marco Roccati (GK)25 17 - 17 -
Chris Coyne22 12 - 12 -
Barry Smith27 31 - 2101
Marcello Marrocco31 23 - 23 -
Walter Del Rio24 3 - 3 -
Gavin Rae23 25212910
Beto Carranza28 172172
Javier Artero25 292383
Claudio Caniggia34 177177
Steven Milne20 183203
Willie Falconer34 1718821
Lee Wilkie (sub)20 101371
Marco Russo (sub) - 4 - 4 -
Michael Yates (sub)21 6 - 121

League Table (as at February 21st, 2001)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

Last Saturday, we deservedly returned from Tynecastle having held Hearts to bring them back to Dens Park for a replay on Wednesday, March 7th.

Not that we were in the best of health before the game with four players doubtful right up to the last minute.

Chris Coyne was physically sick in the hotel prior to the match. Marcello Marrocco's knee injury and Steven Tweed's groin problem made it touch and go whether they played, whilst both. Beto Carranza and Claudio Caniggia, who attracts as much attention from defenders as he does from the media, were suffering from ankle injuries.

In the end all four were able to play and helped us to a battling, but thoroughly deserved draw..

For now, the Scottish Cup is on the back-burner, but tonight's meeting with Dunfermline will be very much like a cup tie, given how much is at stake.

This is very much a six-pointer with tonight's visitor's sitting in sixth spot and four points ahead of us. We do have two games in hand, but cannot afford that gap to increase.

Unfortunately, personnel wise, the situation has not improved too much with doubts again surrounding several players, not to mention the suspensions which keep Steven Tweed, Giorgi Nemsadze and Juan Sara sidelined.

However, we have a squad big enough to cope with these situations, and I am confident that whoever their replacements are will to a job for us.

Because of the importance of the game, we are well focused on this match and know full well that we will have to battle every bit as hard tonight as we did at Tynecastle on Saturday if are to overcome an in-form Dunfermline side.