Dundee 0
Heart of Midlothian 1
League (Premier League)

0 - 1

League (Premier League)
Saturday, August 7th, 2004
Dens Park
Attendance: 7,770
3:00 PM Kick-off

None. Steven Pressley (pen.) (85)

Team Managers
Jim Duffy
Craig Levein

Starting Eleven
1. Derek Soutar
16. Jonay Hernández
17. Callum MacDonald
5. Bobby Mann
3. Brent Sancho
2. Barry Smith
12. Garry Brady
18. Steven Robb
15. Neil Jablonski
9. Steve Lovell
10. John Sutton
Craig Gordon .1
Alan Maybury .2
Steven Pressley .4
Andy Webster .6
Patrick Kisnorbo .3
Robbie Neilson .12
Phil Stamp .8
Joe Hamill .19
Paul Hartley .10
Ramon Pereira .15
Graham Weir .17

13. Kelvin Jack
20. Stephen McNally
11. Iain Anderson
8. Mark Fotheringham
7. Glen Atle Larsen
Teuvo Moilanen .13
Jamie McAllister .14
Christophe Berra .21
Neil MacFarlane .11
Dennis Wyness .7
Robert Sloan .20
Michael Stewart .22

Iain Anderson for Neil Jablonski (64)
Mark Fotheringham for Steven Robb (77)
Michael Stewart for Phil Stamp (75)
Dennis Wyness for Graham Weir (81)
Robert Sloan for Ramon Pereira (86)

Mark Fotheringham (90)
Patrick Kisnorbo (28)
Robbie Neilson (34)
Ramon Pereira (52)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Craig Thomson (Referee)
Alan Cunningham & Frank Cole (Assistants)
Colin Hardie (Fourth Official)

Match Report

The season opener against Hearts ended in defeat thanks to a 85th minute Steven Pressley penalty. Their winner came just when it looked as if Dundee were going to take something from a performance full of determination, but bereft of creativity, on a boiling hot day at Dens.

Bobby Mann and John Sutton were the only two new boys to start, but before their Dens career got underway they lined up for an impeccably observed minute's silence in memory of Dundee, Hearts and Hibs legend Gordon Smith who passed away that week That the Dark Blues had stayed in the game for so long was almost entirely due to a fine defensive performance by an almost unrecognisable back four from twelve months previously. Jonay Hernandez was the sole survivor from our win at Motherwell on day one of 2003-2004. Brent Sancho, young Calum Macdonald and new boy Bobby Mann teamed up with him at the back. Sancho and Mann in particular turned in excellent performances and didn't deserve to be on the losing side.

Derek Soutar, was the player guilty of impeding Hearts' new boy Ramon Pereira for the penalty, but otherwise he didn't put a foot, or hand, wrong.

That couldn't be said of those in front of the back four with the exception of young Steven Robb who buzzed around and occasionally looked likely to create. Otherwise, although there was no lack of effort and determination, offensively Jim Duffy's side were toothless.

Strikers Steve Lovell and John Sutton were the combination the a fans were looking forward to seeing after showing signs of forging a decent partnership in pre-season, but here they were snuffed out by a Hearts defence in even better form than their counterparts in dark blue.

In defence of the English duo strike force, it has to be said that they weren't helped by a lack of support from midfield and on the odd times they did get the ball in dangerous positions, it was usually without support.

Hearts too struggled to create and the longer the match progressed and, until the penalty, a stalemate looked on the cards.

During the first half, however, the visitors carved out a couple of decent opportunities. The first came after five minutes as Pereira played in Weir. and Soutar made his first competitive save at Dens blocking the shot with his legs. Seven minutes later it was Pereira who got on the end of a lovely Hamill chip and lashed a shot off the crossbar and away to safety.

Early in the second half Dundee managed to get a shot on target for the first time, Jablonski racing in to fire a first time angled drive from 15 yards, his effort was well struck but didn't really trouble Gordon.

Ten minutes into the half there was a penalty claim for the Dark Blues, Sancho broke from defence, and set Lovell clear on the right but as he raced into the box he went down under a challenge, the striker beat the ground in frustration but Mr Thomson waved away his claim as Hearts raced upfield and Pereira was only stopped by a superb Bobby Mann tackle.

Pereira had been a target for Dundee before moving to Tynecastle, and he showed again with a shot from the edge of the box, which Soutar beat away, that he'll be an asset to the Gorgie club. Maybury was next to test Soutar with a thirty yarder which the keeper palmed over but the game was beginning to get bogged down. A flurry of substitutions from both sides had little impact. except for the Dundee support rising to acclaim lain Anderson's return to the stadium, but the winger and Mark Fotheringham when he came on, failed to sparkle.

With time running out it looked as if Dundee would get away with snatching a point but Hamill's superb through ball found the Dundee defence momentarily off duty and Pereira went down as Soutar dived at his feet, with just five minutes left.

The Spaniard had got some stick from the Dens punters, with extremely short memories, for a couple of 'Latin' moments but, whether he went down a bit easily or not, it looked a stonewaller.

It was really no more than Hearts deserved. they passed the ball better, and in Hamill, Pressley and Pereira had probably the best players on the field. Dundee on the other hand will need to find much more creativity from somewhere in the weeks ahead.

Match report written by Dundee Matchday Programme

Squad Statistics (as at August 7th, 2004)

2004-05 All Time
Derek Soutar (GK)23 1 - 2 -
Jonay Hernández25 1 - 751
Callum MacDonald21 1 - 8 -
Bobby Mann30 1 - 1 -
Brent Sancho27 1 - 26 -
Barry Smith30 1 - 3494
Garry Brady27 1 - 781
Steven Robb22 1 - 301
Neil Jablonski21 1 - 17 -
Steve Lovell23 1 - 6321
John Sutton20 1 - 1 -
Mark Fotheringham (sub)20 1 - 304
Iain Anderson (sub)27 1 - 15420

League Table (as at August 7th, 2004)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

All the pre-season work is behind us and it is always good to get back to the sharp end as a new season gets underway.

Of course, given the financial troubles last season, there was a time when it looked as though this day might not have dawned.

However, due to the fantastic efforts of our supporters, it has and I would once again like to extend my gratitude to them and anyone who contributed in whatever way to helping the club survive.

At this juncture, there is no point on dwelling on the past other than to say that we know mistakes were made and that we must be as positive as we can over the future.

Speaking personally, I am very excited about the new season.

True, a lot of very talented players have left the club, but it is the badge on the front of the jersey and not the name on the back that is paramount.

Some of the new faces may not be as glamorous as the fans have been used to of late, but provided that the same attitude in the dressing room prevails as during all of last terms tribulations, I am more than confident that we can do equally as well. A visit from Hearts, however, means that we couldn't have been handed a much harder start.

Forgetting the Old Firm, Hearts are rightly regarded as the benchmark for the rest of us.

Over the past two seasons, they have been a consistent third, helped by the management team of Craig Levein and Peter Houston having a fairly stable squad.

After our roller-coaster ride of the past few years, that is clearly what we should be looking to emulate.

Games against Hearts have generally not only been good attacking ones, but also close ones and I expect that to again be the case this afternoon.