Dundee 1
St Johnstone 1
League (First Division)


Dundee
1 - 1
St Johnstone 

League (First Division)
Saturday, September 30th, 2006
Dens Park
Attendance: 5,538
3:00 PM Kick-off

Goalscorers
Andy McLaren (72)
Paul Sheerin (26)

Team Managers
Alex Rae
Owen Coyle

Starting Eleven
1. Ludovic Roy
2. Danny Griffin
3. Bobby Mann
4. Greg Strong
5. Paul Dixon
6. Kevin McDonald
7. Scott Robertson
8. Alex Rae
9. Gavin Swankie
10. Derek Lyle
11. Andy McLaren
Bryn Halliwell .1
Steven Anderson .2
Allan McManus .3
Simon Mensing .4
Goran Stanic .5
Andy Lawrie .6
Martin Hardie .7
Darren Sheridan .8
Paul Sheerin .9
Steven Milne .10
Jason Scotland .11

Bench
12. Scott Murray
14. Callum MacDonald
15. Ross Harris
16. Robert Campbell
17. Scott Gates
Kevin Cuthbert .12
Ryan Stevenson .14
Paul Lawson .15
Peter MacDonald .16
Willie McLaren .17

Substitutions
Robert Campbell for Gavin Swankie (76)
Scott Gates for Andy McLaren (76)
Ross Harris for Kevin McDonald (77)
Paul Lawson for Darren Sheridan (61)
Peter MacDonald for Steven Milne (68)
Willie McLaren for Jason Scotland (84)

Cautions
Andy McLaren (30)
Gavin Swankie (33)
Alex Rae (75)
Allan McManus (57)

Red Cards
Derek Lyle (7)
None.
Match Officials

Alan Freeland (Referee)
Pat Rafferty & Steven George (Assistants)


Match Report


Dundee were unchanged for the fourth game in a row as St Johnstone visited Dens, Saints' former Dens striker Steven Milne had passed a fitness test and played, but he and fellow hitman Jason Scotland continued their unwanted record of neither having ever having scored against the Dark Blues in a competitive match. This should have been their best chance to break that record, but it was the strikers in Dark Blue who would have an impact on this match for differing reasons.

While Andy McLaren would end the afternoon as the home hero it was Lyle who made the first impact and not in a way that he wanted. The striker nearly scored in the first minute, rounding Halliwell but being forced too wide and being foiled by the keeper as he scrambled back.

Five minutes later Lyle's afternoon was over as referee Alan Freeland red carded him on the advice of the stand side assistant referee.

St Johnstone pressed forward from that point to try to make their man. advantage pay and four minutes after the dismissal Ludovic Roy produced a wonder save to deny Paul Sheerin and keep the scoreline blank.

The pressure told in 26 minutes though as Sheerin got on the end of a Lawrie cross and fired a great volley home.

Dundee were battling but struggling to get much of the ball, though they looked to have carved out an opportunity in 32 minutes as Swankie cut inside Lawrie and tumbled as the defender put in a desperate challenge. The previous two games had seen Swankie win penalties but this time Mr Freeland handed him a yellow card for 'simulation'.

As half time approached Paul Dixon raced forward and unleashed a 25 yarder but it went narrowly over the bar, the youngster though was doing his best work on the left of defence and midfield, along with Greg Strong he was keeping Scotland quiet and the youngster's tackling was. ferocious but well timed all over that side of the park.

After the break Dundee came out and redoubled their efforts, McLaren up front was leading by example with the veteran turning in a display which rolled back the years, and behind him the Dark Blues were battling back into this match.

McLaren came close just two minutes after the interval, heading a Dixon free kick narrowly wide, but with the extra man the visitors were always likely to get opportunities and in 53 minutes Roy again excelled when he denied Milne from close range. Sheerin too came close with a magnificent volley which was only inches too high.

News of Gretna's imminent defeat at the hands of Airdrie had seeped through to the away fans in the Bob Shankly stand "We're top of the league and you're no" they chorused but that tune would soon change.

On 65 minutes McLaren spun and fired a shot straight at Halliwell, but six minutes later he got another chance and this time he took it. Dixon played a great ball down the left for Swankie and he again skinned the hapless Lawrie, as he cut across the box he looked as if he would fire an angled shot but instead cut the ball back to McLaren who picked his spot and rammed the ball home from fifteen yards.

Now it was the turn of the Dundee fans to taunt those in the away end with a revival of a seventies derby song, involving a lack of historical honours, which then had a more local target The fans of the Perth side have always treated this fixture as a derby while the Dens support have reserved that extra volume of noise for nearer home, but here the Dundee crowd and players joined forces in treating the fixture as importantly and as competitively as any city clash To many it will never be a real derby, but don't tell Alex Rae and his men that derby spirit was what earned Dundee an unlikely point here.

And that extra effort and support was needed in the last eleven minutes, which included six minutes of injury time, as substitute Ross Harris took a bad knock, he tried to play on but crumpled moments later and after a long stoppage was stretchered off. Thankfully a visit to hospital showed the damage was not as bad as initially feared, that injury though left Dundee with nine men on the park and it needed cleverness as well as workrate to make sure that Saints created no more chances.

The final whistle went with Dundee leaving the stage to a standing ovation, only bettered by that afforded to McLaren when he was substituted fourteen minutes from time - The thunderous chants of "Andy, Andy" which chorused from the stands will live long in the memory.

Match report written by Dundee Matchday Programme



Squad Statistics (as at September 30th, 2006)


2006-07 All Time
Age
Ludovic Roy (GK)29 5 - 5 -
Greg Strong31 9 - 9 -
Bobby Mann32 51825
Paul Dixon19 10 - 492
Andy McLaren - 5252
Kevin McDonald17 101434
Alex Rae37 9191
Scott Robertson21 9 - 622
Danny Griffin29 7 - 7 -
Derek Lyle25 6464
Gavin Swankie22 103133
Scott Gates (sub)18 7 - 15 -
Ross Harris (sub)22 101101
Robert Campbell (sub) - 8 - 8 -






League Table (as at September 30th, 2006)


No league table has been added for this season.


Manager's Programme Notes


Having made three back-to-back wins at Airdrie last week, there is a lot to be pleased about.

Last Saturday wasn't one of our better performances and strangely we seemed to struggle after they went down to ten men.

However, the back and Ludo in goal were in tremendous form.

Ludo had a couple of excellent saves and the back four in front of him, as a unit, were rock solid.

From day one, I maintained that once they were all fit and playing, they would do well and I am pleased to say that they are proving me right.

There is no doubt that the experience of Bobby Mann and Greg Strong has been a telling factor and they are still building their fitness with Bobby having been out for a few weeks injured and Greg not having much of a pre-season before he came to us.

Losing only two goals in the last five games tells its own story and when you take into account that one of them was a highly debatable penalty, the stats look even better.

Whilst I have been happy with the results and how we have played in the last three games, it can't hide the fact that we are thin on the ground in terms of personnel. Therefore adding to it would be a very welcome boost, especially as there are some departments in which we are particularly short of cover.

To that end I have held discussions with various people about several players.

Some of these are with the January transfer

window in mind, but I am also looking at others whom I could bring in right away.

Our last home game against Queen of the South, was also won by the odd goal, and provided the players with a valuable lesson.

After Bobby Mann's early goal we looked as if we were on our way to an easy win, but after the penalty award we lost our way for a bit.

Most concerning was that It wasn't the opposition that gave us problems, but the fact we got wrapped up in decisions by officials and lost concentration.

I had to have a few words at half-time to calm everyone down and get minds back on the job and, to be fair to the boys, they did that with Derek Lyle scoring our penalty just a couple of minutes into the second half.

However, we must accept that bad decisions are part of football and there is no point dwelling on them. We were playing well against Queen of the South and that is what we must keep focusing on.

That will certainly be the case against St Johnstone this afternoon, because they have made a very good start to the season and showed by their decisive defeat of Dundee United in the League Cup that they are a real force to be reckoned with.

The good thing for me is as we approach today's Tayside derby, the players have acknowledged that our level of performance slipped a bit at Airdrie.

However, they shouldn't be too negative because that was our third win a row and the fourth in the last five.

As was shown last week, not every performance can be out of the top drawer, but there is no doubt that we'll need to be at something approaching our best for this afternoon's important top of the table clash with Saints.