New Season, New Players But Deja Vu For Dundee
It has been a very long summer up in here in Scotland.
Going against mother natures normal routine, we actually had the sun shining for more than two weeks which was accompanied with a heat wave with many predicting that the end was nigh and Armageddon was upon us.
Thankfully, that failed to materialise and instead, we would save any Armageddon chat for after a few defeats instead.
It was also a summer that I had to endure the relentless banter from the editor and writers of TEB about how ‘football was coming home,’ though I do not need to remind you all how that turned out …..
Moving on, let’s dive right into what has been happening around Dens Park since the end of last season. Wait a minute… I forgot to mention – Dens Park has a new name!
Although I am not a fan of this sort of business, Dundee sold the naming rights of the old lady to a local company run by Dundee fans, Kilmac. The ground will now be called ‘The Kilmac Stadium at Den Park’ for the next two seasons. It does not exactly roll off the tongue but it does show a close relationship with Kilmac who are rumoured to be the ones that will construct the new stadium if that project is given the go ahead.
Back to the footballing side of things, it has been another end of season that has seen another reshaping of the squad. At the time of writing this, thirteen players have either been released or shipped out on loan while the manager has brought in six new players with a few more rumoured to come in.
We kicked off the season in early in July with the Betfred League Cup and despite being well beaten by Championship side Dunfermline, victories over Stirling Albion, Peterhead and Brechin City has seen us proceed into the last sixteen due to being one of the best four runner ups. Our reward was a home tie against Ayr United which takes place this Saturday but I will come back to that later.
Our Premiership campaign has not exactly got off to a flier but that is not to say there has not been any positives.
St Mirren claimed the win against us in Paisley in the opening match of the season. The summary of the match was more or less the same as what I have bored you with the last few years. We created plenty of chances, never took them and gifted the opposition the win.
We spurned chance after chance, a penalty saved and then our keeper tripped over the ball in the six-yard box and that was that. Another match that we gift wrapped for the other team. It was not a bad performance from us, we were the better team but our ineffectual frontline meant that it would mean absolutely nothing at the final whistle.
Now to the defeat to Aberdeen at Dens on Saturday – I mean The Kilmac Stadium at Dens Park – which was a sore one to take.
We competed rather well with last years Premiership runners up and there was not much between us. Aberdeen might have had more shots on target but Dundee had the better opportunities. You know what’s coming up though, don’t you? Yup, we fluffed our lines in front of goal.
Then, and again I know you will be surprised with this, we gifted Aberdeen a penalty that they had no problem tucking away.
So, it ended 1-0 and to copy and paste what I said about the St Mirren match – ‘we created plenty of chances, never took them and gifted the opposition the win.’
With two league matches played, we sit with zero points but all is not lost.
I know that some fans, if not many, will disagree with me judging by comments made over the weekend but I have taken plenty of positives from our start to the season.
Defensively, I think we have been better than last term. Jack Hamilton’s howler against St Mirren will keep the jury out about the goalkeeping area so you will need to ask me later in teh season. Midfield is where I think we have improved and drastically. The arrival of Elton N’Gwatala and Karl Madianga has made the middle of the park the strongest I have seen it in many a year and that is even with our main man in the middle, Glen Kamara, yet to feature yet.
Unfortunately, I come to the forward line. I hate to be really critical, especially at this early part of the season but scoring wise, we are not good enough in this department and any hope that we will come good with the current strikers is just a pipe dream. We need to invest in bringing in two new strikers to make sure that I do not suffer from writers cramp every time I type about how we played well but lacked up front.
In general, we have performed well and if we can just add a striker with a goal scoring instinct, we will see a more improved Dundee team than last season. Then again, we have been saying that for a few transfer windows.
So I end with the match this weekend – we take on Ayr at home with a place in the quarter-finals of the League Cup up for grabs. On paper and despite how lightweight we are up top, we should have enough to get past the Championship new boys.
That comment could very well come back to bite me on the arse but I am 99%…. well, maybe more 90% sure it will not.
Their main threat will come from in-demand striker Lawrence Shankland who scored goals for fun in League One last season and started the 2018-19 season in similar fashion. We have been linked with him but to capture his signature will cost a hefty £250,000 if media reports are to believed.
I doubt the club will spend that type of money for him but if we make it through to the final eight that will bring the possibility of extra income, it remains to be seen if a deal could be agreed after this tie has been played. My hunch is that we may hear a bit more about this after Saturday and if we win, which we will win by three goals to nil…..maybe.
MON THE DEE!