Dundee Suffer Worst Start To A Season Since 1984-85
I have sat and stared at this screen for at least an hour or so now as I try my best to find the words to kick start another weekly ‘Mon the Dee’ article for TEB, but everything I seem to type looks and sounds very much like my previous entries for this season.
So let’s cut right to the chase. Dundee conjured up a stinker of a display against Motherwell and gifted our opponents what could very well be their easiest win of the season – despite us being only four league matches into the new campaign.
It was our worse start to a season since 1984-85 when we suffered defeats to Aberdeen, Hibs, Dumbarton and Rangers before finally winning against Dundee United.
The worst thing was, I went into this match with a bit of confidence. Motherwell were also struggling like us but with a shower of new signings made in the previous few days before the match, I was upbeat. That of course is a confidence that no Dundee fan should ever enter Dens Park with.
Silly, silly me.
For the Dundee fans reading this, they will have no doubt have already been through the motions and will be sick to the back teeth of even reading about last weekend but for the Palace fans, I’ll try keep it short and sweet.
Motherwell came out the traps and were by far the better team. We slowly started to find our feet but as what would become the norm for us, this team gifted the opposition a goal. Our centre back Kusunga failed to clear his lines with a simply pathetic attempt at clearing the ball and just like the Aberdeen game, handed our opponents the first goal.
We then needlessly gave away a free-kick on the edge of the box which was smacked past our despairing goalkeeper who will have to shoulder the blame for yet another howler. Our Finnish striker grabbed his first goal for the club with a fine header but the game was lost when our players remained static in the box and a quickly taken free-kick resulted in Motherwell’s third and final goal.
There was no talk of us performing well, creating plenty of chances only to fall short in front of goal like before. We were woeful and wasteful. We let the opposition dictate the play, allowed them all the time in the world while they attacked us, showed no urgency and looked totally fed up as a whole.
We did look better when we switched to three at the back with new signing Calvin Miller coming on to add width down the wing but our shortcomings at the back halted any revival.
We now sit bottom with no points after four defeats in all our matches so far in the league. It’s a sorry state of affairs, one which will not be turned around unless McCann stops being stubborn and changes his philosophy on how he wants to play the game.
The defence particularly annoyed me on Saturday. Jesse Curren has impressed me since making his breakthrough this season but I don’t see him as a right back and playing Cammy Kerr at left back along with our centre back pairing of Kusunga and Josh Meekings – who don’t seem to be able to form a partnership – are hampering the clubs attempts to stop the rot. Our number one Jack Hamilton is also going to cost us dearly if McCann doesn’t see sense and reinstate Elliot Parish.
I honestly thought this defeat would have seen Neil McCann relieved off his duties at the club but it seems the owners are willing to give him more time. Our next two matches are away to Rangers and at home to Hibs and there is a high probability that we will see Dundee suffering six defeats on the bounce.
Moving away from the dire footballing side for the remainder of this riveting article, we did see new faces join us and two familiar ones depart before the Scottish transfer window shut last Friday.
Forward Kenny Miller signed after his sacking as player/manager at Livingston and despite being 38, looks like he still has something to offer. Calvin Miller joined on loan from Celtic, while Andy Boyle (Preston North End) and Ryan Inniss (Crystal Palace) were also signed on loan deals.
Miller made his debut, coming on as a substitute against Motherwell and as I said above, made an impact on the team with a few neat runs and crosses in to the box. His corner also resulted in a goal for Dundee. His other namesake Kenny played the full game and did okay especially with the service or lack of that he had to endure.
Palace’s Ryan Inniss also came on as a substitute in the first half and made an immediate impression when his first touch resulted in him kicking a Motherwell striker up in the air! The young defender impressed me and didn’t look out of place despite the overall poor team performance. He’s a big fella so here’s hoping he can force his way into the starting line up and tighten our shaky defence.
The main disappointments of the transfer window were losing Steven Caulker after it was agreed his contract would be terminated and also young striker Craig Wighton to Hearts for a fee believed to be around £250,000.
We all know Caulker has had his demons in the past and there has been rumours they reared their ugly head again along with some disputes with the manager and players. It’s a sad state of affairs for the player and if he is struggling again, let us hope he can get the help that he needs.
The transfer of Craig Wighton was a huge shock to the fans. No-one expected the player to move and that includes Wighton himself, who I believe would have happily have stayed at Dens and was expecting talks about a new contract and not an exit.
McCann highlighted in the press that Wighton ‘felt he wanted the move’ but people close to the player tell a different story. The striker was promised that negotiations about a new contract at the end of last season would begin but McCann had failed to start these talks, which contradicted the managers claim that discussions had taken place but stalled.
He comes off better with this deal though. We lost a talented youngster who should have been giving a run of games in his natural position but that never happened and he finds himself at a bigger club and one that seems to enjoy giving youth a fair crack.
That’s enough moaning for me but I’ll be back after the international break to talk about our match against The Rangers and to see how we fared against the Glasgow side. If we lose, we suffer our worst ever start to a league season since bloody 1928-29.
MON THE DEE!