Misfiring Dundee Taste Defeat
After such a disappointing cup exit at the hands of Glasgow Rangers last weekend, every fan was expecting a performance from Dundee to erase that memory from our minds.
Unfortunately, they did not deliver.
It was almost a carbon copy of our start against Rangers when Hearts came down our left side and if it was not for the poor finishing of their player, the Jambos would have taken the lead after about ten seconds. For me this set the tone for the rest of the match.
Hearts exploited the left side of our team which is the weakest side and constantly put us under a lot of pressure. No-one can argue when I say that this has been a bit of a recurring theme throughout the season.
We did however have chances to win this game. Cammy Kerr got a cross in from the right and it was nearly put into the net by a Hearts defender. Then Greg Stewart showed some great skill to get the ball into the box but his cutback to Kane Hemmings, who was in the six yard box, failed to reach his man.
Dundee came out all guns blazing in the second half and it nearly paid off. Paul McGowan was unlucky with his shot as was Kane Hemmings with the follow up which spun agonisingly past him. McGowan came close again when their keeper made a meal of a clearance from outside of his box and when Paul took his shot, it went past the post by a few inches.
Next up was young Cammy Kerr’s chance but he blazed the ball over after connecting with the ball in the six yard box. In fairness to Cammy, he did brilliantly to get into the position unmarked and he was stretching at the time he made contact.
We were punished after failing to take advantage of the pressure we had put on Hearts when they played an excellent ball past our defence and Jamie Walker took it round Scott Bain to slot home. Despite Hearts being the better team in the first half, the way we came out the starting blocks for the restart meant it was a bit of a sickener.
A golden opportunity would fall to us near the end when Rory Loy found himself one on one with only the keeper to beat but he hit the ball straight at him and as the sting was taken out of the shot, it was cleared off the line by a defender. Looking back at the chance, it would have been easier to put it to either side of the goal but this only highlighted that it would not be Dundee’s day.
A few positives from this game was the inclusion of Cammy Kerr who played the full ninety minutes. He may look a bit green with some of his decision making but he showed more than enough to me that he will defiantly become a first team regular, perhaps before the end of the season. His work rate is superb as was some of his passing and touches. We have got a real gem on our hands here.
Next up was Craig Wighton. Before he went to Raith Rovers on loan, I felt he had lost his way a little in the current set up. Chances were few and far between and when he made an appearance he was not giving time to shine. This all changed when he was eventually giving more game time around the end of the January window and he is impressing me and more. He seems more confident and is not afraid to get involved in a good old tussle and shoulder charge with some of the big boys in this league. He was given a start against Celtic at Parkhead and along with Cammy who was also given his first start, impressed from start to finish.
These two are still very young and learning their trade. They will make mistakes along the way but right now they are showing just what they are capable of and I am sure they will become huge assets.
Our next game is a short trip across the road to bottom of the league Dundee United.
This is a huge match for both clubs. United need all the points they can get as they try desperately to avoid the drop so they will be right up for this derby match, especially since it is at home. We are of course fighting for that top six spot which has become that bit harder since Motherwell jumped into the mix.
So who wants to predict this game? Not me that Is for sure!
It is hard to predict what Dundee team will show up and even harder to predict what United team take to the field. Only a few weeks ago they were 2-1 down at Ross County with ten men and they pushed forward, eventually earing a 3-2 win. Fast forward a week and they put in a lacklustre display against Motherwell and edge closer to dropping out the league.
We have failed to win on their turf for seven league matches so there does seem to be a bit of a jinx with us at Tannadice in recent times. In my opinion the key to winning this game is by strengthening our left side and winning the midfield battle. Our strikers, if they are on their game, will take care of themselves.
Two players we should be getting stuck into and putting them off their game from the get go are Blair Spittal and John Rankin. In a very below average United team, these two are the only ones to impress me when I have seen them play.
So there is no prediction from me for this game. Looking at the table it should be a stick on Dundee win but as everyone knows about Derby matches, it is not as easy as that!
MON THE DEE!