Dundee 0
St Mirren 2
League (Premier League)

0 - 2
St Mirren 

League (Premier League)
Saturday, August 11th, 2012
Dens Park
Attendance: 5,984
3:00 PM Kick-off

None. Kenny McLean (39)
Sam Parkin (63)

Team Managers
Barry Smith
Danny Lennon

Starting Eleven
1. Robert Douglas
21. Davide Grassi
17. Kyle Benedictus
2. Gary Irvine
3. Matt Lockwood
6. Iain Davidson
20. Jim McAlister
11. Ryan Conroy
4. Stephen O'Donnell
27. Mark Stewart
10. John Baird
Craig Samson .1
David van Zanten .2
Darren McGregor .4
Lee Mair .5
Jon Robertson .8
Graham Carey .11
Kenny McLean .17
Dougie Imrie .7
Steven Thompson .9
Paul McGowan .10
Sam Parkin .19

36. Alex Baird
18. Declan Gallagher
33. Jamie Reid
16. Graham Webster
14. Leighton McIntosh
15. Steven Milne
Chris Smith .12
David Barron .23
Marc McAusland .14
Thomas Reilly .20
John McGinn .29
Gary Teale .21
Jack Smith .28

Leighton McIntosh for Mark Stewart (75)
Graham Webster for Stephen O'Donnell (78)
Thomas Reilly for Steven Thompson (59)
Marc McAusland for Dougie Imrie (80)
Gary Teale for Jon Robertson (90)

None. David van Zanten (33)
Steven Thompson (54)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Crawford Allan (Referee)
Raymond White & Graham McNeillie (Assistants)

Photography by David Young

Match Report

The long awaited return of SPL football to Dens Park ended in disappointment for Dundee as they lost 2-0 to St Mirren. There may have been little between the sides outside the penalty areas, but the visitors took their chances with a superb long range shot by McLean and a calm, close range finish from Parkin.

Dundee wasted a series of good chances and found Craig Samson in good form when they did get the ball on target. That's a lesson Dundee will have to take on board, and quickly, as they adjust to life in the SPL. Total concentration will be required at all times, and poor finishing will be punished.

Barry Smith made two changes to the starting line-up. Neil McGregor and Kevin McBride joined the injured list and were replaced by David Grassi, making his debut, and Stephen O'Donnell returning from injury.

The first half was poor with neither side able to work the ball into the box and create chances. The Dundee defence looked slightly nervous early on and Douglas was called upon to deal with a succession of crosses, which he deal with impeccably.

The half boiled down to a tale of two cracking long range shots - Saints' effort went in, and Dundee's smashed off the post. After 39 minutes without a sniff of a chance St Mirren took the lead with a goal of far higher quality than the game had seemed likely to provide.

A mix up between Grassi and Douglas had drastic consequences for the Dee. The new boy seemed unsure whether the advancing Douglas was going to take the ball and had to clear it hurriedly under pressure from Thompson. MCLEAN picked up the ball and flighted a beautiful shot over Douglas from 40 yards, with the keeper possibly still out of position.

Dundee might have grabbed an equaliser just before half time. Ryan Conroy tried his luck from 25 yards but his rising shot flew past Samson and smacked back off the post.

Former Dundee keeper Craig Samson had a quiet first half, but was soon called into action after the restart. Douglas cleared a long ball through the middle that caught the visitors' central defence out. Jamie McAlister nicked the ball round the last defender, but Samson was off his line quickly to make a great save.

Dundee then had a string of corners, one of which found the visitors' defence sleeping. Iain Davidson was in an astonishing amount of space 12 yards out and had time to control the ball but he shot wastefully over the bar.

St Mirren centre forward Stephen Thompson was attracting some critical attention from the home support who remembered his days at Dundee United. He was fortunate to stay on the park after being booked for a thumping challenge on Iain Davidson, then minutes later catching Kyle Benedictus in the head with a very high boot. He was clearly given a final warning by the referee and St Mirren manager Danny Lennon wisely hooked him to stop the Buddies going down to 10 men.

The big turning point of the match came just after the hour. Ryan Conroy sent Mark Stewart clear into the penalty area, and as he was about to shoot he was brought down from behind by McGregor and the ball trickled through to Samson. Did the St Mirren player get the man or the ball? It was a tough call, but Mr Allan gave the decision St Mirren's way.

St Mirren went up the park to take full advantage of their let off with a classic sucker punch while Dundee had switched off and were thinking of what might have been. Imrie's cross from the left found PARKIN with space in the penalty area. He had too much time to bring the ball down and pass it across Douglas and into the net.

The Dee should have pulled a goal back quickly from a good move down the right by Baird and McAlister, whose fine cross to the far post found the unmarked Mark Stewart. Sadly he headed carelessly over when he should have buried the chance.

Dundee didn't give up and kept pressing. Conroy set up Baird to shoot from 18 yards, but his curling effort was well saved by Samson at full stretch. Davidson nodded the ball into the empty net, but the flag was up for offside.

Most of the play was in the St Mirren half as the visitors concentrated on protecting their lead. They didn't have any more real chances, though Grassi had to block a McGowan drive after a stramash in the penalty area when a cross wasn't cleared.

Dundee threw on Leighton McIntosh and Graham Webster in place of Stewart and O'Donnell, but St Mirren were able to see out the game fairly comfortably. Dundee should still have pulled a goal back right on the final whistle, but yet again they blew a great chance. Leighton McIntosh was coming back from an offside position when Iain Davidson's powerful return header from a clearance sent the ball flying back into the penalty area. The defence were looking at McIntosh who left the ball alone, knowing he was offside, allowing John Baird to run through from an onside position and lift the ball over the stranded Samson. The ball drifted the wrong side of the bar, and that summed up Dundee's day.

The Dee had plenty of chances to win this game, far more than in either the game against Peterhead or St Mirren. It was encouraging that Dundee kept playing football and creating chances, without being anywhere near their best.

This is obviously going to be a hard season and there will be many games when Dundee will have fewer chances than they created today. They simply must take the sort of great chances that they created today. We are no longer in a division where we can get away with carelessness at either end of the pitch. This game hung on a few moments at either end, and St Mirren showed their SPL experience in ensuring they came out on top. Dundee will have to learn quickly.

Match report written by James Christie - Official Dundee website

Squad Statistics (as at August 11th, 2012)

2012-13 All Time
Robert Douglas (GK)40 3 - 274 -
Matt Lockwood35 3 - 799
Gary Irvine27 3 - 822
Kyle Benedictus20 3 - 53 -
Davide Grassi26 1 - 1 -
Stephen O'Donnell29 1 - 797
Ryan Conroy25 3 - 4512
Jim McAlister26 2 - 2 -
Iain Davidson28 2 - 2 -
John Baird26 3 - 3 -
Mark Stewart24 2 - 2 -
Graham Webster (sub)20 3 - 7 -
Leighton McIntosh (sub)19 2 - 355

League Table (as at August 11th, 2012)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

It's a pleasure to be the manager of Dundee Football Club as we welcome SPL football back to the Dens Park for the first time in 7 years.

Although we have not been allowed as much time as we ideally would have hoped for to prepare for our return to the top flight, have a great group of players here who will relish the oppor- tunity, and will grasp it with both hands.

Last Saturday, again given the length of time we had to get organised, I would have taken a point before the game, and the manner in which we went about our business was very pleasing. We were organised, worked hard, and made things difficult for a good Kilmarnock side.

I felt it was a real team performance; the strikers worked their socks off, the midfielders closed down quickly, the defenders limited chances, and Rab proved yet again that even at 40 years old he remains one of the top keepers in the country with his save right at the death.

The fans definitely played their part too. To travel to Rugby Park in such numbers is quite unbelievable, and the togetherness we've forged between the supporters and the team appears to grow stronger and stronger.

I too very much feel that we're all in this together. There will no doubt be times this season where we'll face adversity, but we have shown over the past couple of years what we are all about as a football club, and I hope we'll therefore add something to the SPL both on and off the park.

We realise how important our home games will be this season, and it's crucial that we start in the right manner. Danny Lennon is one of the best young managers around in my opinion, and what he has achieved with St Mirren over the past couple of years has been fantastic. They like to play football the right way as do we, and therefore I expect a very hard fought but entertaining game.

I hope this will be an occasion that we can all enjoy today, and nothing will allow us to do that more than putting 3 points on the board. I'm sure if we do the right things, and all support each other, that's a goal that can be achieved.