Dundee 2
Ross County 0
League (First Division)

2 - 0
Ross County 

League (First Division)
Sunday, January 2nd, 2011
Dens Park
Attendance: 4,725
3:00 PM Kick-off

Matt Lockwood (pen.) (28)
Gary Harkins (83)

Team Managers
Barry Smith
Willie McStay

Starting Eleven
1. Robert Douglas
2. Gary Irvine
3. Craig McKeown
4. Rhys Weston
5. Matt Lockwood
6. Steven Robb
7. Gary Harkins
8. Stephen O'Donnell
9. Craig Forsyth
10. Leigh Griffiths
11. Sean Higgins
Michael McGovern .1
Gary Miller .2
Johnny Flynn .3
Scott Boyd .4
Scott Morrison .5
Paul Lawson .6
Iain Vigurs .7
Michael Gardyne .8
Richard Brittain .9
Martin Scott .10
Andrew Barrowman .11

12. Bobby Geddes
14. Kyle Benedictus
15. Connor Rennie
16. Jonny Stewart
17. Leighton McIntosh
Joe Malin .12
Darren McCormack .14
Stuart Kettlewell .15
Steven Craig .16
Garry Wood .17

Jonny Stewart for Craig Forsyth (93)
Darren McCormack for Gary Miller (46)
Stuart Kettlewell for Darren McCormack (57)
Steven Craig for Iain Vigurs (68)

Craig Forsyth (50)
Stephen O'Donnell (63)
Rhys Weston (65)
Stuart Kettlewell (64)
Paul Lawson (64)
Martin Scott (64)
Steven Craig (90)

Red Cards
None. Stuart Kettlewell (90)
Match Officials

Frank McDermott (Referee)

Match Report

Dundee's recent matches have been calm and measured victories. This was very different affair. It was a tough battle that Dundee won largely because they kept their heads better than the visitors when the nasty stuff started.

Dundee's neat short passing game wasn't so prominent today, but they had the quality required to see off a Ross County side who could retain possession neatly, but lacked the penetration to trouble the home defence. Dundee had the extra quality that allowed them to carve out the chances they needed to win.

The big surprise in the home line-up was the sight of Steven Robb making debut for the Dee, second time around, after being released by St Mirren. He was a straight replacement for the injured Nicky Riley, playing on the right of midfield instead of the more familiar left wing.

It was the current holder of the left midfield spot, Craig Forsyth, who proved to be the most prominent player on the pitch today. He should have given Dundee the lead after only three minutes when he wastefully fired high after fine approach play by Higgins and Griffiths.

County responded quickly with a fine shot by Gardyne from 20 yards that curled narrowly wide.

The game then settled into a lengthy spell of County passing their way neatly but harmlessly around in midfield, whilst a strangely sloppy Dundee veered between careless passing and flashes of skill and vision, mainly from Griffiths, that threatened to unlock the visitors' defence.

It was one of those moments of quality that allowed Dundee to take the lead on 28 minutes. Forsyth combined neatly with Griffiths and was half tackled as he surged into the box. He managed to keep going but was tripped by Flynn. Matt Lockwood stepped up to blast his third goal of the season high into the net from the spot.

Forsyth nearly set up a second shortly after when he intercepted a clearance nipped round Miller and drove a pass across goal that was just begging for a striker to tap it in. County could have equalised soon after the restart when a poor pass from Craig McKeown allowed Gardyne to break down the left. His cross gave Barrowman the visitors' only chance of the match, but the header was weak and wide.

New County manager Willie McStay replaced the uncomfortable Miller with McCormack at half time, but sadly the newcomer lasted only five minutes before incurring a dreadful injury. He lost control of the ball and Forsyth swept it out play. The County player's follow through caught Forsyth, with a dreadful snapping noise that signalled the worst. More than seven minutes of treatment were required before he was stretchered off.

The referee, Mr Dermott, gave Forsyth a yellow card, which may have been a reaction to the awful injury, rather than a fair punishment.

The next County substitute, Stuart Kettlewell, seemed in no doubt about where the guilt lay and embarked on a rather childish vendetta against Forsyth. After the pair had challenged each other in midfield on the touch line Kettlewell kicked the grounded Forsyth in the back. This prompted a good old fashioned rammy that required physical intervention from the referee and his assistant.

The Main Stand had a perfect view of the assault on Forsyth and were offering noisy advice to the referee. Fortunately for Kettlewell the referee had missed his part, though he was one of five players booked for the incident. In truth, only one card was really required, and it should have been red.

The home fans gave Kettlewell the traditional pantomime villain treatment. Craig Forsyth showed great coolness and maturity, apparently thriving on the antagonism of his opponents. His attitude seemed to be that if they wanted to have a go at him then he'd run hard at their defence and dare them to do their worst.

At last Dundee were consistently making their passes count, and building their moves neatly. Harkins and O'Donnell were in great form in the midfield, and the latter saw his shot hacked off the line following a corner. Griffiths then flashed a twenty yarder just wide as Dundee pressed County back.

The crucial second goal was no surprise, but the outstanding quality of the goal took everyone's breath away. Forsyth, Harkins and Higgins combined cleverly in midfield, making space for Griffiths to dink the ball into the path of Harkins. The skilful midfielder celebrated his 26th birthday by chesting the ball past the last defender and coolly firing it home.

The match sponsors, Radio Tay, gave the man of the match award to Craig Forsyth, who completed an eventful afternoon by taking a nasty face knock in an aerial challenge and being substituted.

Stuart Kettlewell finally got the red card that had seemed almost inevitable. Gary Harkins knocked the ball past him and was caught late. It wasn't a bad foul, but Kettlewell had obviously used up all his credit with the referee and received a second yellow. That was the last of the talking points, and at 5 o'clock exactly the referee called a halt to the game, fifteen minutes late!

Dundee have played better in this recent run, but today's win was all about composure, patience and maturity. They kept going till they got their game together and refused to lose their concentration and get distracted by the delays and strange goings on in the second half. That required greater strength of character than other recent Dundee sides have shown, and it ensured that Dundee took the three points that they deserved.

Match report written by James Christie - Official Dundee website

Squad Statistics (as at January 2nd, 2011)

2010-11 All Time
Robert Douglas (GK)38 18 - 209 -
Matt Lockwood34 163163
Rhys Weston30 16 - 16 -
Gary Irvine25 18 - 18 -
Craig McKeown25 211541
Stephen O'Donnell27 202202
Craig Forsyth - 191577
Gary Harkins26 2136621
Steven Robb28 1 - 954
Leigh Griffiths20 21126033
Sean Higgins26 2035210
Jonny Stewart (sub) - 3 - 3 -

League Table (as at January 2nd, 2011)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

Welcome to our first home game of a new year which we all hope will bring more cheer than 2010.

I started 2010 as a player with Brechin City and coaching the young players at Dundee and now twelve months later I am manager of a club which has meant so much to me over the years. I am privileged to be in this position and wish it had come about in different circumstances that meant people didn't have to lose their jobs.

I was captain when the club went into administration in 2003 so perhaps have been better prepared than others to know what happens in such circumstances but credit for recent performances goes to everyone associated with the club. The players can be particularly proud as I believe they have been more galvanised as a team than seven years ago. That is not to say that we didn't have that spirit last time, but this time, with the threat of relegation hanging over us and a much smaller squad, it has fostered a real bond within the club.

I believe the threat to the club in terms of closing down and ceasing to exist was much bigger when we went into administration in October than it was the last time. People will look at the difference in the figures and wonder why when the value of debt is so much lower this time, but we are all acutely aware this is a fight for survival. The actions of the SFL in upholding their original decision does not change the attitude of me or the players. We expected this to happen, so it's not a big shock. We always had it in our heads that we were 25 points behind so nothing is different. The lads have just focused on getting as many points on the board as they can.

There is a massive feeling for Dundee Football Club in the city and the backing from the supporters and businessmen has given us a chance of survival.

We have now entered a new year but we want the same attitude and resolve from everyone associated with the club in the last few weeks to continue right until the end of the season. The players and I will do everything we can to help the club prove others wrong and the continued backing of the support is vital in allowing us to do that.

Lets hope for a good start to a new year starting with today's game.