0 - 2
0 - 2
League (Premier League)
Marc Libbra (54)
David Zitelli (66)
3. Jamie Langfield
26. Walter Del Rio
2. Barry Smith
6. Steven Tweed
30. Zurab Khizanishvili
14. Gavin Rae
36. Beto Garrido
29. Alessandro Romano
10. Giorgi Nemsadze
7. Fabian Caballero
33. Claudio Caniggia
Nick Colgan .1
Gary Smith .18
Mathias Jack .19
Frédéric Arpinon .12
Grant Brebner .8
Franck Sauzée .4
Ian Murray .26
Dirk Lehmann .16
Stuart Lovell .7
Marc Libbra .21
David Zitelli .20
1. Marco Roccati
22. Chris Coyne
23. Mark Robertson
15. Steven Milne
Ian Westwater .13
Russell Latapy .10
Garry O'Connor .44
Mixu Paatelainen .9
Tam McManus .27
Mark Robertson for Beto Garrido (60)
Mixu Paatelainen for David Zitelli (66)
Garry O'Connor for Marc Libbra (66)
Zurab Khizanishvili (51)
|Gary Smith (56)
David Somers (Referee)
French finishing power proved more potent than Italian superstition at Dens Park yesterday, where Hibs extended their record against the Dundee sides this season to a remarkable seven wins from seven games.
Disappointed at his side's poor home form this year, Dark Blues player/boss Ivano Bonetti took the By Dan Stewart highly unusual step of commandeering the away dug-out for himself and his coaching team in the hope that a change of surroundings might produce a change of
fortune. What it brought was a better view of the second half goals from Marc Libbra and David Zitelli, who took advantage of poor defending by the hosts to give their side a glimmer of hope of pipping Rangers to the Champions League spot.
"Four victories, that's quite a good wee run Hibs have had against us this season," sighed Dundee centre-half Steven Tweed, understandably taking scant consolation from the fact that the victors also boast a 100% record against his side's city rivals United.
"There was just no spark there today. The whole place is quite flat at the moment with everyone looking tired after what has been a long season.
"The crowd didn't really give us a lift and it was one of those days where things just didn't go our way."
Tweed's involvement in the game's 54th-minute opener was the perfect illustration of his point, with the former Hibs man going agonisingly close to cutting off man-of-match Freddie Arpinon's clipped through ball to his countryman Libbra.
"He (Arpinon) wasn't really picked up off a one-two and was able to dink the ball over us," he explained. "I tried to reach with my knee but just couldn't get there and the other lad (Libbra) has gone on to finish it off."
If Hibs' first did not look too clever viewed from a Dundee perspective, the second, 12 minutes later, was even worse. Walter del Rio put Barry Smith under pressure with an ill advised cross-field pass to him just in front of his own penalty box, from where Zitelli was able to dispossess him before running on to beat advancing keeper Jamie Langfield with a low shot into the net.
"This was a game today which could have finished 0-0 but we have given gifts to the opposition and they have accepted them," summarised Bonetti. "It is frustrating because although we reached our target of finishing in the top six we still wanted to end the season in style."
With the Dundee line-up containing the long-awaited pairing of Argentinians Claudio Caniggia and Fabian Caballero that had looked a possibility before the game.
However, with Caballero still not yet back to his best after injury and Caniggia's forays up front taking him into dead end after dead end, it was unfortunately not the "dream team" pairing that the strikers' impressive individual performances at other points in the season had hinted at.
In fact Dundee's best scoring efforts came not from their strikers but from Tweed, whose powerful header from Giorgi Nemsadze's corner forced a goal line clearance from Stuart Lovell early on, and Gavin Rae, who knocked Arpinon over with a fierce drive when the score stood at 2-0.
While the partnership of Caniggia and Caballero may get another chance later this season, whether they will be teaming up next season remains open to question.
The Dens board of directors hope to announce new deals for Caballero and Juan Sara later this week but the feeling persists that Caniggia will be on his way in the summer despite reports of Rangers' apparent reluctance to take him to Ibrox if a significant fee is involved.
"Nothing has changed," was how a club spokesman reacted to the latest speculatíon yesterday, "We have received no bids for Claudio from anyone and he remains a contracted Dundee player."
Bonetti, meanwhile, did his best to look on the bright side after what was an uncharcteristically lifeless performance from his side by predicting that Caballero would be the sharper for another 90 minutes action and praising the display of debutant Mark Robertson, who replaced Beto Garrido for the last half hour.
"We do need to bring in new players for next season and are working on it all the time. I know the areas which we need to strengthen and we will do so."
And the dug-outs? "We'll not be changing them again," Bonetti laughed. "We are closer to the changing rooms where we are now and our next move would have to be to the other side of the pitch which would not be so easy."
Gary Smith (foul on Garrido) and Zura Khizanishvili (foul on Arpinon) were booked.
Match report written by The Courier
|Jamie Langfield (GK)
|Walter Del Rio
|Mark Robertson (sub)
No league table has been added for this season.
Following last week's defeat by Rangers, the whole squad and I sat down and watched a video of the Rangers game and apart from gifting Rangers two goals after 15 minutes, there was not a lot between the sides and the final result painted picture. a false
However, as everyone knows, you simply cannot afford to be this generous to the top sides, especially as we passed up some five or six excellent chances to score ourselves!
Had we done so we might have at last brought some overdue joy for our fans if we had scored a few. goals as we should undoubtedly have done. But we didn't - we lost and you can't say much more about it. To make as many chances against one of the big teams is important for the future, but we also have to cut out the mistakes we made, particularly, as I can't recall Jamie Langfield making a save of note. It was just three shots and three goals which was very disappointing, but again highlighted the areas in which wel need to improve next season.
And to that very end my brother and our new chief scout, Enzo Gambaro, have recently been in South America and will shortly be going to Italy in the search for new players as we step up our efforts to bring in players of better quality.
My first season has been very much one of acclimatisation to the Scottish game, though obviously, it was very pleasing to achieve our initial target of top six finish.
Next term, I am looking for us to go one stage further and really challenge for honours, but to do that, I am now fully aware that we must first further strengthen the squad.
However, more immediately, we have four games left this season starting with the visit of Hibs this afternoon. And whilst on the face of it we may have nothing to play for, that is far from how I regard these fixtures.
Apart from wanting to finish with as many points as possible, I will not tolerate anyone thinking that they are just playing out the season, because some are playing for their very future with this Club.
Finally, after suffering three defeats at Hibs' hands already this season, I would like us to get the win which has eluded us this season and give our supporters the opportunity to celebrate that long overdue home victory.