Dundee 3
St Mirren 2
League (First Division)

3 - 2
St Mirren 

League (First Division)
Saturday, August 6th, 2005
Dens Park
Attendance: 5,011
3:00 PM Kick-off

Bobby Mann (10)
Simon Lynch (77)
Tam McManus (83)
Stewart Kean (25)
John Baird (87)

Team Managers
Jim Duffy
Gus MacPherson

Starting Eleven
1. Kelvin Jack
2. Barry Smith
3. Paul Dixon
4. Garry Brady
5. Bobby Mann
6. Adrian Madaschi
7. Iain Anderson
8. Scott Robertson
9. Simon Lynch
10. Tam McManus
11. Steven Robb
Craig Hinchcliffe .1
David van Zanten. 2
Kirk Broadfoot .3
Andy Millen .4
Kevin McGowne .5
Mark Reilly .6
Hugh Murray .7
Simon Lappin .8
Stewart Kean .9
Alan Reid .10
Mark Corcoran .11

12. Scott Murray
14. Tom Hutchinson
15. Joel Kitamirike
16. Andy Ferguson
17. Gerry Britton
John Potter .12
David McKenna .14
Chris Smith .15
Ian Maxwell .16
John Baird .17

Tom Hutchinson for Paul Dixon (46)
Gerry Britton for Simon Lynch (88)
Andy Ferguson for Tam McManus (90)
John Baird for Mark Corcoran (69)
Ian Maxwell for Alan Reid (80)

Simon Lynch (39)
Steven Robb (53)
Tam McManus (83)
Kirk Broadfoot (34)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Kevin Toner (Referee)
Craig Marshall & Morag Pirie (Assistants)

Match Report

Dundee got a fright, but emerged with all three points from the league season opener thriller with a lively St Mirren side at Dens. Dundee started well, and in the second half eased two goals ahead, but the visiting team dominated the middle part of a match which their manager Gus McPherson said featured, "Two teams who were trying to win, there wasn't anyone sitting back and trying to grind out a point." The Dee starting eleven were unchanged from the side who had beaten East Stirling in the Bell's Cup, but Gavin Swankie was missing from the squad through injury, his place on the bench going to Joel Kitamarike.

An impressive 5000 plus crowd were in the stadium as the season started including a large and noisy contingent of 'Buddies' in the Bob Shankly end that Dundee attacked from the kick off.

The Dee were unchanged from the side who had eased past East Stirling in the Bell's Cup, but Gavin Swankie was missing from the squad through injury, his place on the bench going to Joel Kitamarike.

The early stages saw Dundee dominate possession and Tam McManus was involved from the off, he flashed a header wide and then should probably have done better when he burst clear only to pull his shot across goal and well wide.

On ten minutes, the former Hibee was involved again as he forced a corner on the right and from the set piece Dundee took the lead. Steven Robb's kick and was only partly cleared by the visiting defence and when lain Anderson whipped the ball in from the left Adrian Madaschi attacked the ball superbly, his header rattled the face of the bar and Bobby Mann was on hand to knock the ball home for his first goal in Dundee's colours.

Jim Duffy's men pushed forward to try to get a second, but as time wore on the visitors began to find their feet and pushed Dundee back. The Buddies looked strong and quick and deservedly levelled after 25 minutes. Stewart Kean provided the finish after Kelvin Jack and Barry Smith had twice blocked goal bound efforts.

From then to the interval Gus McPherson's men dominated and could consider themselves unlucky to have not taken the lead. That was largely due to Kelvin Jack, who turned in his best game in a Dundee shirt, twice denying the Buddies with fine saves from Kean and Broadfoot. The former of those came when a short back pass from Dixon forced Jack to race from his goal and clear from Kean's feet, the resultant collision with the striker left Jack needing attention and there was concern about him as he limped off at half time.

The Trinidad and Tobago clutcher had recovered sufficiently to resume after the break though, although with Dundee having struggled against St Mirren's five midfielders, Jim Duffy ditched the 4-4-2 starting formation to match up with the Buddies line up. Paul Dixon went off to be replaced by Tom Hutchinson to change the formation and it quickly paid dividends as the Dark Blues began to push forward again.

It looked as though they had gone ahead midway through the half when Barry Smith netted from Robb's cross, but the skipper's joy was short lived as referee Kevin Toner pointed out that stand side assistant Craig Marshall had his flag raised for offside.

After the match had been won Jim Duffy could afford to take the incident lightly and he joked "I didn't think he was offside, if he was it's the first time in Barry's life he's ever been in an offside position."

Three minutes later, a great run by Robb saw the winger cut in from the left and burst to the bye-line with a string of defenders trailing in his wake to cut the ball back for Lynch, but as the crowd roared in anticipation of a goal Broadfoot got in a fantastic block to deny the Dens new boy.

With fifteen minutes to go, Lynch got another opportunity and this time the striker maintained his better than a goal a game record in Scottish football. McManus picked up the ball wide on the left and lofted a ball across field, lain Anderson rose to cushion a superb header into the path of Lynch and he steadied before clipping the ball over Hinchcliffe and into the net.

St Mirren tried to hit back, but with five minutes left Dundee were two ahead. Once more it came from a corner on the right, which was again won by McManus. This time Robb took the kick short to Robertson and when he received it back, he picked out Lynch with a neat clipped ball, the striker swung in a curling shot but it wasn't going in until McManus raced in to ram the ball home. Tam's delight after something of a dry spell in front of goal was obvious as he ripped his shirt off and celebrated with the ecstatic fans behind the goal, but his actions brought a yellow card from Mr Toner.

Now Dundee appeared to be on easy but it became tighter again as St Mirren pulled one back in bizarre fashion, Van Zanten launched in a cross which was headed weakly goalwards by Baird, Barry Smith tried to lash it clear but Baird had reacted quickly to block and the ball rebounded from him and zipped past Jack to reduce the margin to a single goal again.

The Paisley side poured forward in search of an equaliser as the game went into injury time, but it was desperation stuff and Dundee's defence held firm. A particular hero in those closing moments was lain Anderson, four times he cleared the danger as the last moments ran down to a final whistle which brought relief for and celebrations from the home support.

Match report written by Dundee Matchday Programme

Squad Statistics (as at August 6th, 2005)

2005-06 All Time
Kelvin Jack (GK) - 2 - 4 -
Paul Dixon18 2 - 2 -
Adrian Madaschi - 2 - 2 -
Bobby Mann31 21341
Barry Smith31 2 - 3904
Iain Anderson28 2117724
Garry Brady28 2 - 1072
Steven Robb23 2 - 664
Scott Robertson20 2 - 12 -
Simon Lynch23 2222
Tam McManus24 21165
Tom Hutchinson (sub)23 1 - 321
Gerry Britton (sub) - 1 - 8724
Andy Ferguson (sub) - 2 - 2 -

League Table (as at August 6th, 2005)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

I've rarely felt so eager to go at the start of the season I am impatient to get it going and in an even bigger hurry for this season to reach its conclusion- hopefully with promotion secured and a return to the Premier League to look forward to.

The players know that other teams will be desperate beat us, most pundits have us down as favourites to go back up and the sides in this league will be keen to knock us down. Managers will use a good result against us as a way of convincing their players they are good enough to beat anyone else in the league.

For us expectation levels will be huge and it's all about having the character to cope with that. Teams like Celtic and Rangers are used to it but we are more used to being the underdogs in recent years.

We saw a little of that expectation last weekend when we beat East Stirlingshire in the Bells Cup, the game was relatively comfortable in some aspects, but there were too many chances missed to be pleased really. I was pleased for Simon Lynch scoring a goal which is always good regardless of the competition. That's his first home competitive match, so I was pleased for him. I thought Steven Robb, particularly in the first half did really well and young Paul Dixon did well with his involvement in both goals, but I felt that second half there wasn't enough put into the match, the game just kind of frittered away really.

I was pleased too with the size of the crowd, it surprised me a bit as I wasn't expecting so many people, it's a bit disappointing that we didn't give them a bit more to cheer. It's one of those days where the ball didn't end up in the back of the net enough, some of the football was good, but it was a bit patchy. The fans though showed a lot of patience and that's something that we'll need this season.

There may be little credit given to us even for a convincing win, some will say that it was only to be expected, and anything less than big wins could possi- bly bring criticism, that's something we'll have to learn to live with. If we win the league then we may get a little credit but even then it will be expected by many. It really is a no-win situation but that is why we need to be very strong internally and make sure that as a club we appreciate the efforts on a weekly basis. We need to be positive with the players and we also need to be patient. In previous seasons, a half-time scoreline of 0-0 against the likes of Hearts may have been enough to see us cheered off the pitch, this season, regardless who we meet on league duty, the fans will be expecting us to be leading by that stage and anything less is likely to see us jeered off. But a game lasts 90 minutes and the last thing we need is unnecessary anxieties transmitting onto the pitch.

Everyone knows that the SPL is the only place to be, but to get back there we need to work together, all of us, players, fans, the board and the management.

When we finished bottom of the league we forfeited the excitement of playing the best teams in the country and also lost the street cred of being part of that group.

In a way this term is our punishment but it is also an opportunity to regroup, test our mettle and prove we deserve the right to get back up there.

The fact is the First Division is a very open league and I think virtually every team will start the season believing they can do something.

From ourselves, relegated from the top division, today's visitors who finished last season right to the sides promoted from the second division all will be convinced that they can make an impact that should be motivation enough for my players and for Dundee as a club.