Dundee 1
Greenock Morton 0
League (Division One)

1 - 0

League (Division One)
Saturday, August 8th, 2009
Dens Park
Attendance: 5,499
3:00 PM Kick-off

Sean Higgins (56)

Team Managers
Jocky Scott
Davie Irons

Starting Eleven
Tony Bullock
Eric Paton
Gary Mackenzie
Jim Laughlan
Eddie Malone
Richie Hart
Paul McHale
Colin Cameron
Gary Harkins
Sean Higgins
Colin McMenamin
Bryn Halliwell .1
Stewart Greacen .2
Allan McManus .3
David MacGregor .4
Ryan McGuffie .5
Carlo Monti .6
Peter Weatherson .7
Kevin Finlayson .8
Neil MacFarlane .9
Steven Masterton .10
Jim McAlister .11

Derek Soutar
Chris Casement
Craig Forsyth
Brian Kerr
Leigh Griffiths
Colin Stewart .12
Ryan Harding .14
Allan Jenkins .15
Brian Wake .16
Brian Graham .17

Leigh Griffiths for Colin McMenamin (68)
Brian Kerr for Colin Cameron (75)
Craig Forsyth for Gary Harkins (87)
Allan Jenkins for Peter Weatherson (58)
Brian Wake for Carlo Monti (75)
Brian Graham for Ryan McGuffie (87)

Sean Higgins (45)
Gary Mackenzie (45)
Jim Laughlan (51)
Sean Higgins (61)

Red Cards
Sean Higgins (61)
Match Officials

Chris Boyle (Referee)
John Gilmour & Morag Pirie (Assistants)

Match Report

Sean Higgins fired home Paul McHale's cross to give Dundee three points and get the season off on the right track. The Dark Blues struggled in the opening period against a strong looking Morton side but it was a much improved Dee after the break and they created considerable pressure even before Sean hit the target. There was a late period of pressure from the visitors but a full length diving save from Tony Bullock made sure the points stayed at Dens.

When the final whistle went at 10 to 5 this afternoon the huge roar from the Dundee support wasn't just relief that the Dees had held on for a hard fought 1-0 win over Morton. There was real excitement and enthusiasm at the efforts of the players and at the quality of some of the football in the second half

For most of the first halt, however, it had looked as if this might be one of those frustrating days when the players fail to perform in front of a good turnout of home fans.

Dundee lined up in their usual 4-4-2, without the injured Rab Douglas and. Craig McKeown, and the suspended Mickael Antoine-Curier. This game had perhaps come too early for David Cowan and Pat Clarke to be considered after their retum from injury

Both sides got aff to a slow and cagey start, with Dundee attacking the Shankly end. After seven minutes McMenamin forced a good save from Morton keeper Halliwell with a fine volley from the edge of the box. Two minutes later Gary Harkins brought the ball out of defence and started a marvellous sweeping move across the pitch and down the right where Hart sets up Cameron for a shot which is blocked just inside the box.

Apart from a Hart header that flew just wide, that was pretty much the end of the good football from Dundee in the first half. The game settled into a stodigy midfield tussle in which neither side could break down the opposing defence.

Morton had a series of comers, and a Weatherson glancing header wasn't far over, but the Dundee defence looked comfortable with all of the high balls into the box. However, the dark blues gave the ball away far too often as they came out of defence and this allowed Morton to put us under steady but ineffectual pressure.

The midfield really wasn't clicking at this point, and the service to the strikers was poor. The short passing game wasn't working, and there was a temptation to go for the long range Hollywood passes, which never quite came off

If Dundee were playing poorly for the latter part of the first half Morton really weren't any better. Their short passing was neater, but they lacked the skill and invention. to open up the Dundee defence and resorted to long balls into the box in frustration.

The Morton fans were clearly happier than the home support when the half time whistle went after their team had held Dundee at bay fairly easily in a poor game.

Jocky Scott's body language suggested that he was going to have some serious discussions with the players in the dressing room!

The dark blues clearly took a telling, and came close to scoring after only 30 seconds of the second half, McMenamin's diving header from a Hankins cross flashing narrowly wide. Hart then played a lovely quick 1-2 with Cameron to go racing clear down the right but his good cross was grabbed by the keeper.

At last Dundee were getting their passing game going, and Harkins emerged as the key player down the Dundee left, spraying good passes infield, clipping dangerous balls forward into space and combing effectively with Malone to open up the Morton flank. On 55 minutes one of these good moves in from the left wing gave Higgins the chance to shoot from the edge of the area. He tried to curl it round the keeper. It was on its way in, but

Halliwell pulled off a magnificent save to touch it round the post Higgins had to wait only three more minutes for the goal that Dundee were now threatening to score every time they got the baill.

Harkins drifted in from the left and hit a great pass across the field to find McHale in space on the right. Paul had time to pick his cross, and whipped in a perfect low ball to the near post where Higgins arrived to flick the ball across the helpless goalie and just inside the far post. was a marvellous goal that was celebrated long and loudly by the players It and support. It felt like such an important goal.

The players seemed released from the pressure, and started to play some real high-quality football. It was suddenly much easier to find space with Marton pressing forward, and Dundee started to look lethal when attacking down the wings. Hart and McHale were puling the defence around by constantly swapping over, and Harkins was having a party in front of the adorning South Enclosure.

With 20 minutes to go Leigh Griffiths replaced McMenamin to give the visiting defence more ulcer inducing moments with his skill and eagerness.

With 12 minutes to to the magician Harkins, and his not temibly glamorous assistant Eddie, ripped open Morton yet again and Gary dropped the ball onto Sparky's napper, but the header was agonisingly wide. The roof would have come off the South Enclosure if that one had gone in!

Harkins very nearly gave the home support what they craved and rapped a shot against the post after dribbling in from the left wing, the hysteria amongst the home fans increasing with each skip past another defender.

Dundee might have paid for failing to put a tolling Morton side to the sword when the visitors flung men forward in injury time in a desperate search for an equaliser. A low cross deflected off a defender and was uncomfortably close to the far post. It's a measure of the problems Morton had creating chances that their fest shot on target was an optimistic long range effort from Westhemon that Bullock saved comfortably after 92 minutes. However, in the end Dundee saw the game out fairly comfortably for three points that were richly deserved on the bases of a fine second halt.

The sponsor's man of the match was Sean Higgins, who certainly had a good game. He was unlucky not to score before his well taken goal, and his energy, movement and linking with team mates showed that he's a very good signing.

Nevertheless, my man of the match would have to be Gary Harkins, who played the game the way that supporters just love to see: delighting in beating men and hitting passes that were a joy to watch.

The whole midfield played well after a poor first halt, and the full backs were repeatedly brought into attacking play by good passing and movement, not just down the left. Hart, McHale and Paton combined very impressively an the right.

Gary Mackenzie and lim Lauchlan both stood up well to Morton's aerial attack. Sometimes it wasn't very pretty, and some of the passing out of defence could have been better, but they ensured that Morton didn't get a clear chance throughout.

The first half was tight and tough, but after half time Dundee showed just what good football they can play in the end they won more comfortably than 1-0 suggests. It was exactly the sort of performance in the second half that the supporters were desperate to see. Now, can they do it for 90 minutes? Next stop Kirkcaldy!

Oh, and did I really hear a beefy Dundonian male offer to marry Gary Harkins?

Match report written by James Christie - Official Dundee website

Squad Statistics (as at August 8th, 2009)

2009-10 All Time
Tony Bullock (GK)37 2 - 2 -
Gary Mackenzie23 1 - 831
Eric Paton30 2 - 364
Jim Laughlan32 2 - 19 -
Eddie Malone24 2 - 682
Paul McHale27 2 - 714
Colin Cameron36 2 - 11 -
Richie Hart31 2 - 2 -
Gary Harkins24 2121
Colin McMenamin28 224616
Sean Higgins24 2222
Brian Kerr (sub)27 2 - 2 -
Craig Forsyth (sub)20 1 - 5 -
Leigh Griffiths (sub)18 2121

League Table (as at August 8th, 2009)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

At last the season begins again. It seems a long time since we played Partick Thistle on the final day of last season.

Pre season has gone well, during which we have played games against a good standard of opposition, abroad and at home.

Our opponents today proved to be very difficult last season and I don't see them being any different this season. Although we are at home we could not be playing harder opposition.

Dave Irons has assembled a good squad with limited resources and I am sure he will be looking to improve his club's league position this season.

Once again we at Dens Park have ambitions and targets for this season and to fulfil these we will always need your vocal support throughout the season.

Hope you enjoy the game and the season ahead.