Dundee 2
St Johnstone 1
League (Premiership)

2 - 1
St Johnstone 

League (Premiership)
Saturday, August 15th, 2015
Dens Park
Attendance: 6,176
3:00 PM Kick-off

James McPake (16)
Kane Hemmings (39)
Steven MacLean (54)

Team Managers
Paul Hartley
Tommy Wright

Starting Eleven
1. Scott Bain
16. Julen Etxabeguren
5. James McPake
19. Paul McGinn
3. Kevin Holt
29. Gary Harkins
17. Nick Ross
18. Paul McGowan
8. Nicky Low
7. Greg Stewart
15. Kane Hemmings
Alan Mannus. 1
David MacKay .2
Tam Scobbie .3
Joe Shaughnessy .14
Brian Easton .24
Chris Millar .7
Murray Davidson .8
Liam Craig .26
Steven MacLean .9
Graham Cummins .18
Michael O’Halloran .29

12. David Mitchell
6. Daryll Meggatt
2. Gary Irvine
4. Thomas Konrad
28. Dylan Carreiro
11. Simon Ferry
21. Luka Tankulic
Zander Clark .12
Brad McKay .15
Frazer Wright .5
Liam Caddis .16
Simon Lappin .4
Chris Kane .25
John Sutton .11

Thomas Konrad for James McPake (65)
Daryll Meggatt for Nicky Low (74)
Luka Tankulic for Kane Hemmings (79)
Simon Lappin for Liam Craig (62)
John Sutton for Graham Cummins (71)
Chris Kane for Steven MacLean (78)

James McPake (63)
Greg Stewart (70)
Gary Harkins (88)
Murray Davidson (21)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Kevin Clancy (Referee)
Stuart MacMillan & Michael Banks (Assistants)
Andrew Dallas (Fourth Official)

Match Report

The Dark Blues secured their first home win of the season, beating St Johnstone 2-1 in an entertaining and competitive match at Dens Park this afternoon. James McPake and Kane Hemmings gave the Dee a deserved two goal lead at half time, only for Steven MacLean to pull a goal back early in the second half. A solid Dark Blue defence kept Saints at bay after that and the Dee passed up great chances that would have killed the game well before the final whistle.

Dundee made two changes from the team that drew at Tannadice. Kevin Thomson hadn't recovered from injury and Rory Loy was suffering from a recurrence of the groin injury that kept him out of the Hearts game. Paul McGowan and Nicky Low therefore started for the Dee. St Johnstone made three changes, ex-Dee Dave MacKay replaced Brad McKay in central defence while Chris Millar and Steven MacLean came in for David Wotherspoon and John Sutton in midfield and attack.

Saints started the match well, carrying a real threat as they came forward, especially through O'Halloran on the right. However, with less of the ball the Dark Blues were equally dangerous and the Dee should have gone ahead after only two minutes. Kane Hemmings robbed Easton to set up a fast attack, but Greg Stewart volleyed McGowan's cross into the ground, giving Mannus a far easier save than he was expecting.

Skipper James McPake showed exactly how to hit a volley when he opened the scoring after 16 minutes. Saints failed to deal with Nicky Low's left wing corner, and Tuesday's last gasp hero scored with a perfect left foot volley into the roof of the net from only six yards out.

The goal transformed the game and the Dark Blues moved up a gear to take control. Low was having a marvellous debut, chasing like a terrier when Saints had possession, and always available and using the ball cleverly when the Dee were on the attack. The newcomer came close with an 18 yard shot that zipped just over the bar after the referee Mr Clancy played a good advantage when Nicky Ross was fouled. Low set up another attack with his energetic pressing and Harkins curled his shot narrowly wide. Another sweeping move ended with Greg Stewart teeing up the ball for Paul McGinn to blast a shot over Mannus's bar from 16 yards.

Saints nearly nicked a shock equaliser when Cummins took Craig's pass on the volley, sending the ball over Bain and under the bar. Or that was the plan, and it was what everyone in the ground was expecting, only for Scott Bain to pull off an astonishing save. Cummins held his head in his hands, hardly able to believe the quality of Bain's goalkeeping. This was a save every bit as good as Bain's injury time heroics in the derby!

Dundee endured a tricky few minutes when Saints were able to get O'Halloran into the game, but the defence, and Kevin Holt in particular, were dealing better with Saints danger man. The Dark Blues soon reasserted control, taking advantage of Saints midfield sitting back covering the defence rather than pressing higher up the pitch. This gave the Dundee midfield plenty of time and space to build dangerous attacks. Dundee's play in midfield was sufficiently intelligent and skillful to open up the Saints defence and Saints couldn't afford to allow the Dark Blues to play the game their way so easily.

Stewart broke well on the right, and Hemmings should have done better than a loose shot over the bar. Stewart was more accurate when Harkins' pass opened up the defence, but Mannus saved well.

Dundee's second goal was no surprise and featured a superb assist by Nicky Low. St Johnstone had a corner, and when it was cleared Low seized on a careless pass to spring clear down the left wing. His cross had perfect pace and accuracy for HEMMINGS to guide a scoring header from 10 yards back across the helpless Mannus.

The Dark Blues finished the half well on top and playing delightful football. Not surprisingly Saints changed their game at half time and started to press Dundee further up the park. St Johnstone did manage to get the ball into the net through Liam Craig only a minute into the half. However, MacLean's push on Nick Ross to set up the chance was so obvious that it was no surprise the goal was disallowed.

The Dark Blues were quickly back on the attack but Mannus saved well from Stewart after Hemmings skipped past MacKay on the left. It was an important save because Saints were soon just a goal adrift. O'Halloran showed great skill and perseverance to reach the byline and MACLEAN hooked his cutback past Bain.

The next chance fell to Hemmings, who missed by a couple of yards after Harkins clever pass had given him the chance to shoot. Midway through the second half James McPake limped out of the game, seemingly with an injured knee. Thomas Konrad came on and settled into his defensive duties alongside Etxabeguren so effectively that Saints failed to carve out another chance after their goal. The visitors had plenty of possession and some spells of intense pressure, but Scott Bain's duties were restricted to impeccable handling of crosses and some routine administration of optimistic shots from distance.

Nicky Low took a knock and was replaced by Darryll Meggatt after 74 minutes. Low left the pitch to a well deserved standing ovation after an excellent first start for the Dee. Dundee were now playing with three central defenders, and both full backs pushing forward providing width. The balance of play was even, but the Dark Blues carried far more penetration than Saints, and they should really have sealed the victory with a third goal.

Mannus again pulled off a good save at full length to defy Stewart, who had attempted one of his trademark curling left foot shots from the edge of the penalty area. Stewart and Hemmings then sliced open St Johnstone's defence to leave the unmarked Ross with a great chance only 10 yards out, but the midfielder hit his shot straight at Mannus. Ross was having a fine game in midfield, but he will be disappointed with his finishing because he then missed an even better chance. Stewart and McGinn had ripped through Saints' defence and the full back's pass offered Ross a tap in, but he took a fresh air shot.

Dundee weren't punished for these misses because the hard working defence and midfield didn't let their concentration slip for a second, and Saints didn't have any dangerous attacks in the closing stages. Meggatt put in a sound performance for the 20 minutes he was on the pitch, adopting an admirable robust and sensible approach, winning the ball aggressively and taking no chances in possession.

St Johnstone will surely be disappointed they couldn't exploit their goal to build momentum and create further chances. Their pressing made it harder for Dundee to play their chosen game, but when Dundee started to get to grips with O'Halloran's threat Saints struggled to find an alternative route to goal.

Over the full 90 minutes Dundee were well worth the win. When they were on top they were carving open Saints defence impressively. When Saints had their best spells Dundee's rearguard kept their heads and were never as exposed as the visitors' defence.

Yet again Dundee played some delightful passing football in attack, and it was great to see Dundee carry such danger against such experienced, well organised and stuffy opponents. Any win against St Johnstone has to be fought for and earned. Today Dundee did all that was required to master their neighbours down the A90, and it was very pleasing to see the new players fitting in so well again.

Match report written by James Christie - Official Dundee website

Squad Statistics (as at August 15th, 2015)

2015-16 All Time
Scott Bain (GK)23 4 - 30 -
Kevin Holt22 4 - 4 -
Paul McGinn24 4 - 432
James McPake31 32414
Julen Etxabeguren24 4 - 4 -
Nicky Low23 2 - 2 -
Paul McGowan27 4 - 381
Nick Ross23 4 - 4 -
Gary Harkins30 4 - 13529
Greg Stewart25 434318
Kane Hemmings24 4242
Daryll Meggatt (sub)24 1 - 1 -
Thomas Konrad (sub)25 3 - 402
Luka Tankulic (sub)24 1 - 323

League Table (as at August 15th, 2015)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

This afternoon we welcome St. Johnstone and if like to start by welcoming Tommy Wright, his backroom staff and all the supporters from both sides.

We had an entertaining night of football on Tuesday night and I was delighted at the spirit the players showed in the end.

Given what we showed in the first half and the chances we created it was the least we deserved. United will be thinking other wise but what spirit our players showed. I think last year we probably would have lost that game.

It was a good game of football it was end to end and there were chances. It was a good advert for Scottish football and I'm really pleased with the players.

Today we are right back into it with St. Johnstone coming to visit.

They haven't got a victory yet in the league this season but I saw them during their match with Hearts on the opening weekend and I know they have a lot to offer so we will need to be at the top of our game.

We had some good games with Tommy Wright's side last season so I'm looking forward to another exciting contest this afternoon.