After just over three months of being bottom of the Premiership, Dundee eventually managed to climb off the base of the table after a week that has seen the Dark Blues achieve their first home win of the season along with a battling display with ten-men to claim a point at Dens on Sunday.
It all kicked off last Wednesday with Hamilton Accies visiting Dens in what was a must win for the Dee. A defeat would have left us a massive eleven points behind our opponents and falling even further adrift of safety. However, with an upturn in performances lately, it was inevitable that we would turn the last few points into three and we certainly did so in style and then some.
The 39-year-old Kenny Miller continued his goalscoring exploits by rolling back the years to net a hat-trick in front of a cold but jubilant Dundee support. Jesse Currran also found his way to goal, albeit with a deflection, to notch his first senior goal in a game that ended with an emphatic 4-0 victory for Dundee.
It is not often us fans walk away from Dens happy and even with eleventh placed St Mirren picking up a point away to Hibs to keep us bottom on goal difference, it could not dampen the celebrations of the home support.
So up rolled on Sunday and a visit from The Rangers who had all but promised that the three-points would be travelling back to Govan with them and a spot at the top of the league with Celtic.
The lunchtime kick off did not start off too brightly for us but we did find ourselves in the lead when that man Miller netting his sixth goal in four matches to give us somewhat of an undeserved lead. It was another brilliant strikers’ instinct goal from the in-form front man, something that has been missing since Kane Hemmings departed us.
The lead wouldn’t last that long when left-back Nathan Ralph was sent off and the away team slotted home the resulting free-kick.
The red card caused a fair bit of controversy because the referee told our manager Jim McIntyre that it was for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity but with fellow defender Andy Boyle more than capable of putting in a tackle himself, that has not washed with the gaffer who appealed the decision which was ultimately rejected.
From then on in, it was ‘backs against the wall’ mentality for Dundee. Rangers did have a goal disallowed for offside but for the next 71 minutes of the match, ten-man Dundee reduced the visitors to just one shot on target.
With Hamilton and St Mirren both failing to pick up any points the previous day, this draw moved us off the bottom of the table. The relief and joy at full-time could be heard in the home support while the away fans quietly left the stadium, rueing a Dundee team who put on a masterful defence display.
Miller showed how valuable not only his goals have become but what having someone with his experience in the team does. He orchestrated his fellow team mates until he was substituted late in the game by constantly speaking and giving them instructions. His presence on the pitch is next to none and despite a shaky start to his Dundee career, he has proved his worth to this team and our cause for fighting relegation.
If I had to praise every improved player, I’d be here all day but for now I’ll speak about the ones that have caught my attention the most.
Darren O’Dea and Genséric Kusunga.
O’Dea missed the Rangers match due to a groin injury sustained on Wednesday but his influence and organisation is second to none and pivotal for a team who were haemorrhaging goals for fun. He may have lost a yard or two on his pace but, you can’t put a price on experience.
Now for his fellow centre back Kusunga. He’s been the target of plenty of criticism from me this season and I still stand by the fact it was deserved but he has stopped the silly mistakes and been a pillar at the back.
He may have scored an own goal against Hibs a few weeks back but for the rest of the match, he was one of the best players on the pitch. He was equally solid in the home win against Hamilton and he was many peoples man-of-the-match on Sunday when he dealt with everything that Rangers threw at us. I lost count of all the crosses he headed away with ease. Credit where credit is due but he has shut this supporters’ mouth.
We face a Kilmarnock team next who are riding high in the league. They hit the dizzy heights of top spot last week before they were knocked off their perch by Celtic with a 5-1 hammering.
Can we travel to Ayrshire and get something from the game? A month ago, I would have laughed and said no, but now? Why not!
We certainly don’t seem to be fearing any team recently so why should they be any different? I won’t kid myself that I think it will be an easy ride. They are a good counter-attacking team with the obvious threat of Greg Stewart who is reproducing the form he had at Dens and then some.
Here’s hoping for another positive result this weekend.
MON THE DEE!