Dundee 1
Aberdeen 3
League (Premier League)

1 - 3

League (Premier League)
Saturday, December 29th, 2012
Dens Park
Attendance: 9,013
3:00 PM Kick-off

Mark Stewart (82)
Niall McGinn (46)
Niall McGinn (69)
Niall McGinn(89)

Team Managers
Barry Smith
Craig Brown

Starting Eleven
1. Robert Douglas
17. Kyle Benedictus
18. Declan Gallagher
2. Gary Irvine
3. Matt Lockwood
20. Jim McAlister
8. Kevin McBride
4. Stephen O'Donnell
7. Nicky Riley
10. John Baird
24. Colin Nish
Jamie Langfield .1
Clark Robertson .3
Andy Considine .6
Mark Reynolds. 22
Joe Shaughnessy. 23
Gavin Rae .5
Jonny Hayes .11
Jamie Masson .25
Scott Vernon .9
Niall McGinn .10
Cammy Smith .38

36. Alex Baird
26. Brian Easton
5. Neil McGregor
25. Lewis Toshney
11. Ryan Conroy
6. Iain Davidson
27. Mark Stewart
Jason Brown .32
Russell Anderson .4
Rob Milsom .8
Stephen Hughes .18
Ryan Fraser .20
Rory Fallon .14
Josh Magennis .21

Iain Davidson for Stephen O'Donnell (57)
Ryan Conroy for Kevin McBride (67)
Mark Stewart for Nicky Riley (81)
Russell Anderson for Andy Considine (32)
Ryan Fraser for Jamie Masson (70)
Josh Magennis for Clark Robertson (73)

None. Joe Shaughnessy (36)
Gavin Rae (45)
Russell Anderson (63)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Brian Colvin (Referee)
Graham McNeillie & Stuart MacMillan (Assistants)
Andrew Dallas (Fourth Official)

Photography by David Young

Match Report

Dundee signed off 2012 with a dismally disappointing 3-1 defeat by Aberdeen at Dens Park. A poor performance in a goalless first half was followed by a worse second half in which Niall McGinn grabbed a classic poacher's hat-trick. Mark Stewart gave the Dee a brief glimmer of hope with a late goal when the score was 2-0, but McGinn's third goal ensured the final result reflected the Dons' superiority.

Dundee's only change from Boxing Day was the return of Nicky Riley in place of Ryan Conroy. Stephen O'Donnell kept his place and Iain Davidson had to take a place on the bench on his return from suspension.

The match got off to a flying start with Kevin McBride firing wide in the first 30 seconds after Aberdeen failed to clear a Lockwood long throw. The Dons went straight up the park and Hayes' trickery caused an unwelcome flurry of excitement in the home penalty area. In Aberdeen's next attack Smith shot narrowly wide.

That was all in the first three minutes, but it was pretty much all the excitement that the first half hour provided. Aberdeen were well on top but struggled to open up the Dee defence. Aberdeen's only half chance in the rest of the half was when Vernon volleyed over a Hayes' cross that was deflected into his path.

That was certainly more than Dundee could offer. The Dee could manage only one vaguely threatening move in the whole first half. Riley couldn't exploit Baird's neat pass into space and the ball was moved out to the left. Lockwood swung over a high cross but Nish couldn't keep his header down. Nish did hit a 30 yard free kick only just over the bar, but Langfield had it covered anyway.

The main talking point of the first half was a horrible looking injury to Aberdeen defender Andrew Considine who received lengthy treatment on the park before being stretchered off and taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg.

If the first half was disappointing at least Dundee fans could console themselves with a level scoreline and the hope that things might change in the second half. They did; things got worse, much worse.

Dundee carelessly conceded a corner in the first minute and were caught out badly when the Dons quickly took it short. Hayes' cross was flicked on by Vernon at the near post and Niall MCGINN forced the ball over the line from close range.

Giving a goal away right at the start of the half rocked Dundee back, and Aberdeen took charge. A great break by McGinn down the right released Hayes and Vernon stabbed his cross past the near post.

Dundee were incapable of opening Aberdeen up in open play and set pieces looked the best chance of a goal. Jamie Langfield dropped a corner under pressure and Gallagher's shot was deflected over the bar. That was during a fleeting moment of home pressure and most of the serious action was at the other end.

Dundee, and Matt Lockwood, had a huge escape when the full back seemed to pull Shaughnessy to stop him reaching Robertson's inviting cross with the goal gaping. It looked a clear penalty, but referee Mr Colvin waved play on, to the Dons' understandable dismay.

It made little difference because the Dons were soon two up. MCGINN was given far too much space to glance Hayes' cross past Douglas with a deft header.

Barry Smith had meanwhile replaced both O'Donnell and McBride in central midfield. Davidson and Conroy came on, with McAlister moving infield to try and provide some more movement and creativity.

However, the midfield remained firmly in Aberdeen's control, thanks largely to Gavin Rae's intelligence and experience. He was constantly on hand to break up Dundee's play and start Aberdeen's attacks. To adapt Gary Player's famous quote, the longer Gavin plays the luckier he gets finding himself in the right place.

Mark Stewart came on for the last 10 minutes, and surprisingly Dundee pulled a goal back immediately, courtesy of a badly defended long throw from Gary Irvine. Nish flicked the ball on, it bounced in the goalmouth and STEWART prodded it into the net.

That should have signalled a late charge for an unlikely and undeserved point, but it never happened. McAlister did shoot wide from the edge of the box, but the Dons were still running the game.

It was hardly a surprise that a goal came at the other end. Declan Gallagher was too hurried with his attempted pass from defence and sent it straight to Hayes who was able to run through a gaping hole in the middle of the park and fire a thunderous shot from 25 yards. Douglas managed to parry it up in the air, but it dropped behind him for MCGINN to bundle the ball home to complete his hat-trick.

And so the game ended with the large Aberdeen support singing lustily as the home fans drifting away.

This wasn't Dundee's heaviest defeat of the season, but it was probably the worst performance at home. The 4-1 defeat by Caley Thistle flattered the visitors on a night when Dundee played reasonably well outside their own penalty area but defended atrociously. Today Dundee were second best all over the field and if anything it was Dundee who were flattered by the final score.

The midfield was overrun and outpassed. It was too static and slow. They were never able to provide any worthwhile possession to the strikers and wide players who all had a miserable afternoon. On the rare occasions that Dundee managed to get the ball into the box there were never players following up in support and the Dons were always able to clear easily apart from their single slip to concede Stewart's goal.

Today's performance can be summed up in one word; grim. I'm afraid there was nothing for me to be positive about.

Match report written by James Christie - Official Dundee website

Squad Statistics (as at December 29th, 2012)

2012-13 All Time
Robert Douglas (GK)40 23 - 294 -
Kyle Benedictus21 201701
Declan Gallagher21 13 - 13 -
Gary Irvine27 23 - 1022
Matt Lockwood36 2019610
Jim McAlister27 22 - 22 -
Kevin McBride31 141251
Stephen O'Donnell29 6 - 847
Nicky Riley26 1428011
John Baird27 22 - 22 -
Colin Nish31 162162
Iain Davidson (sub)28 211211
Ryan Conroy (sub)25 2246416
Mark Stewart (sub)24 9191

League Table (as at December 29th, 2012)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

As we reach the end of 2012, it's often time to reflect on the season so far as the new calendar year coincides with just about the halfway point.

After much deliberation, debate and uncertainty over the summer months, we were delighted to be invited into the SPL. The biggest challenge that left us with however was that everyone at the club had been preparing for a year in SFL Division 1, and there is no doubt that there is a big step up.

After a great resilient performance at Kilmarnock on the opening day of the season, we lost a few games by the narrowest of margins, and began to learn the hard way that mistakes will be punished much more severely in the top flight. On top of that, we experienced a horrendous injury list and struggled to put the same XI on the park two games in a row.

I think it was no coincidence whatsoever therefore that when we were able to do just that, our results improved. The players to their credit did not hide when things weren't always going how we'd have liked, but instead came in every day and worked hard to turn things around.

As we look ahead, I think we can do so with optimism. Many of our players are still learning their trade at this level, and the more experienced players are doing their bit to help them along. I feel we therefore have a good mix and one that will continue to improve as the season progresses.

What I will say is that we never take the fantastic supporters at this club for granted, and every point we put on the board is for you more than anyone. We have shown in the past couple of seasons that we are strongest when we stick together and if we continue to do that, I'm sure we can get to where we want to be.

On behalf of all the players and backroom staff, a massive thank you for your continued support and have a very Happy New Year.