St Johnstone 0
Dundee 2
League (Premier League)

St Johnstone 

0 - 2


League (Premier League)
Saturday, December 8th, 2001
McDiarmid Park
Attendance: 5,299
3:00 PM Kick-off

None. Juan Sara (20)
Temur Ketsbaia (54)

Team Managers
Billy Stark Ivano Bonetti

Starting Eleven
15. Alan Miller
19. Marc McCulloch
29. Mark Lynch
4. Nick Dasovic
12. Grant Murray
2. Darren Dods
16. Willie Falconer
22. David McClune
17. Paul Hartley
14. Paddy Connolly
8. Craig Russell
Jamie Langfield .1
David Mackay .24
Fan Zhiyi .31
Barry Smith .2
Walter Del Rio .17
Temur Ketsbaia .6
Beto Carranza .5
Gavin Rae .8
Kiko Torres .32
Fabian Caballero .7
Juan Sara .9

21. Kevin Cuthbert
30. Martyn Fotheringham
27. Peter MacDonald
5. Jim Weir
11. Paul Kane
Julian Speroni .12
Lucas Gatti .3
Javier Artero .18
Mark Robertson .11
Gavin Beith .25

Peter MacDonald for David McClune (65)
Martyn Fotheringham for Nick Dasovic (75)
Javier Artero for Fabian Caballero (46)
Mark Robertson for Beto Carranza (59)

None. None.

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

Stuart Dougal (Referee)
Andy Davis & Brian McDuffie (Assistants)
Tom Brown (Fourth Official)

Match Report

With the 40th anniversary of Dundee clinching their solitary top flight championship, and in so doing relegating St Johnstone to the Second Division, approaching, the Dark Blues raised the spectre of the drop over Perth once again as they easily saw off Saints 2-0.

Dundee were comfortable win- ners in a match that, after Juan Sara's 20th minute opener, they always controlled, while the McDiarmid Park side looked exactly what they are bottom of the SPL.

Manager Billy Stark confessed there was no case to be made for Saints having deserved to take anything from the game and, while he joked that he had no plans to stick his head in the oven, the fact that he immediately turned his attention to this evening's under 21 clash with Dundee United-in which alternative selections Jim Weir, Paul Kane, Stuart McCluskey, Darren Jackson, Ross Forysth and Tommy Lovenkrands may all feature-spoke volumes for the display.

Dundee on the other hand could draw plenty of encouragement-not least defensively and in triumphing despite losing Fabian Caballero and Beto Carranza through injury-from their display.

The three most recent arrivals at Dens, Temuri Ketsbaia, Fan Zhiyi and Kiko Torres were at the heart of the victory with the first two named easily their top performers.

"The signing of players like these can only improve the team," observed Javier Artero, the longest serving member of Dundee's foreign legion.

"And I thought Fan Zhiyi in particular had an unbelievable game.

"Thinking back over the 90 minutes I cannot think of a mistake by him and it is difficult to go through a whole match like that.

"He has brought pace and experience to the side and definitely helped us defensively, although I thought Barry Smith and Walter del Rio were also excellent."

It is interesting to note that Dundee are unbeaten in the three games against United, Rangers and Saints-that Fan has been involved in and for the first time since March they've notched back-to-back clean sheets.

And Artero-who replaced the crocked Caballero at the break-for one believes they are ready to put behind them the struggles of the first part of the campaign.

"We must be very happy with the performance against St Johnstone and with the way that things are starting to pick up," he said.

"January and February are the months when you must have acceleration in the league and I feel we are getting ourselves in shape to do just that.'

Improving too, he feels, is his own form following the trauma of being diagnosed as suffering from MS and the lengthy spell he spent recovering.

"I am getting there," he said, "After three months without games I have effectively had to go through pre-season training again and having done that all I need now is to be playing.

"I feel stronger every day and it is only sharpness which has still to come."

There was certainly no lack of sharpness about the manner in which Dundee tucked away their chances.

Ketsbaia's ball to Rae was quickly despatched in behind the home rearguard for Sara, who'd been played on-side by Willie Falconer, to prod the ball home from 14 yards.

And nine minutes into the second half, Falconer-who amazingly was named man-of-the-match by the sponsors-was again caught out as Carranza threaded the ball through for Ketsbaia to steer a shot across Alan Miller and into the far corner.

Just to emphasise their dominance, in between the goals Sara missed a sitter and Ketsbaia had an effort beaten away by Miller, while at 2-0 Ketsbaia rattled the bar with a snap shot.

Saints had a few chances but the closest they came to scoring was when Fan, in clearing a Paul Hartley cross, deflected the ball inches wide of the far post.

Falconer-having been pushed up front-was denied by a fine near post interception from Barry Smith but Paddy Connolly ought to have done better with two opportunities.

A lofted Mark Lynch pass set up a real possibility of an equaliser but Connolly hesitated and Jamie Langfield was able to turn his eventual shot away for a corner and late on a gilt-edged opening disappeared as he again delayed allowing Walter del Rio to clear.

"We, both the team and myself, are not having the best of times in front of goal," said Connolly, referring to a run of nine games in which Saints have netted only five times.

For Dundee the concern is injuries. Caballero is still struggling with the tendon behind his knee and now has an ankle knock to deal with, while a hamstring strain threatens to sideline Carranza.

Caballero's latest injury was sustained in a challenge from behind by Marc McCulloch shortly before half-time which referee Stuart Dougal strangely felt did not merit even the awarding of a free-kick.

Following treatment the Argentinian attempted to run the problem off but the joint swelled up during the interval and he could not continue.

Match report written by The Courier

Squad Statistics (as at December 8th, 2001)

2001-02 All Time
Jamie Langfield (GK)21 22 - 36 -
Barry Smith27 22 - 2431
Fan Zhiyi32 3 - 3 -
David Mackay20 6161
Walter Del Rio25 18 - 27 -
Gavin Rae24 22316415
Beto Carranza29 161424
Temur Ketsbaia33 8282
Kiko Torres26 2 - 2 -
Juan Sara25 1765323
Fabian Caballero23 1853513
Mark Robertson (sub)24 15 - 20 -
Javier Artero (sub)26 7 - 564

League Table (as at December 8th, 2001)

No league table has been added for this season.