Dundee 2
Kilmarnock 1
League (Premiership Play-Off Final 1st Leg)

2 - 1

League (Premiership Play-Off Final 1st Leg)
Thursday, May 20th, 2021
Kilmac Stadium
Attendance: 500
8:15 PM Kick-off

Jordan McGhee (6)
Charlie Adam (47)
Haustrup (76)

Team Managers
James McPake
Tommy Wright

Starting Eleven
13. Adam Legzdins
14. Lee Ashcroft
16. Christie Elliott
4. Liam Fontaine
2. Cammy Kerr
3. Jordan McGhee
26. Charlie Adam
8. Shaun Byrne
10. Paul McGowan
18. Paul McMullan
9. Danny Mullen

12. Calum Ferrie
23. Jordan Marshall
24. Max Anderson
11. Declan McDaid
35. Jason Cummings
7. Alex Jakubiak
21. Osman Sow

Jordan Marshall for Christie Elliott (66)
Osman Sow for Paul McMullan (72)
Declan McDaid for Danny Mullen (80)

Osman Sow (86)
Shaun Byrne (87)
Charlie Adam (92)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

John Beaton (Referee)
Frank Connor & Drew Kirkland (Assistants)
David Munro (Fourth Official)

Photography by David Young

Match Report

The Dee put in an excellent team performance at the Kilmac Stadium to beat Kilmarnock 2-1 in the first leg of the Premiership play-off final. Jordan McGhee and Charlie Adam scored at the start of each half and Dundee were the better team throughout the match. Killie’s goal came from Brandon Haunstrup, their only shot on target, quarter of an hour from the end. The spirited, skillful and combative Dark Blues had the edge all over the park and would have deserved to head west for the second leg on Monday with a bigger lead.

James McPake made two changes from the semi-final second leg against Raith. Liam Fontaine returned in central defence with Jordan McGhee moving forward into the midfield and Max Anderson on the bench. Danny Mullen started with Jason Cummings named as a substitute.

Kilmarnock spent the first five minutes in the Dee half without threatening Adam Legzdin’s goal. But as soon as the Dee attacked they scored. Christie Elliott moved infield and found Charlie Adam who flighted a lovely pass over the defence for Cammy Kerr to race in and cross with a first time volley. Danny Mullen’s glancing header was pushed onto the post by keeper Doyle, but Jordan McGHEE was quickest to react and poked the loose ball into the net.

Dundee could have added a second goal three minutes later when Haunstrup missed a through ball. Paul McMullan ran clear but Doyle blocked his shot.

Kilmarnock had the majority of possession, but did little with it. Their passing moves broke down and they regularly opted for long balls towards Kyle Lafferty, to no effect. With less of the ball Dundee were more direct and far more dangerous.

Killie had a five minute spell of ineffectual pressure just after the half hour mark, but the Dark Blues’ defence handled it competently. The visitors’ only two real shots in the first half were Lafferty efforts that were nowhere near the target.

Dundee came back strongly late in the half and Jordan McGhee was close to a second goal when his shot from Danny Mullen’s cutback took a deflection and went just the wrong side of the post.

The first half belonged to the Dee and many would have expected the Premiership side to come out after half time fired up by a dressing room dressing down from manager Tommy Wright. However, it was the Dark Blues who sprinted out of the blocks at the restart and scored their second goal within two minutes.

Christie Elliott’s harrying forced Killie captain Gary Dicker to lose the ball 30 yards from his own goal. Paul McMullan pounced, raced into the penalty area and laid the ball back for Charlie ADAM to smash home the vital second goal from 12 yards. For the first time the Dee captain was able to celebrate a goal in front of Dees in the stand, and he revelled in the opportunity!

Killie were rocked by the setback and were a mess for the first half hour of the second half. Dundee did all the serious attacking and constantly threatened to add to their lead. The Premiership visitors offered nothing in response, and gave the ball away repeatedly all over the park.

Christie Elliott was having one of his best games in dark blue, but was forced out of the game with a gash on his leg midway through the half. Jordan Marshall came on to play at left back with Cammy Kerr moving across to his familiar right back position. Marshall was soon at the heart of the action and caused Killie problems with his runs and skill down the left.

Danny Mullen was a constant pest, harrassing the Kilmarnock defenders and never allowing them to relax for a moment. He chased an Adam pass although Broadfoot was favourite to clear, and when the veteran defender got in a tangle he pounced and rifled a fierce rising shot for the top corner only to be foiled by a fine save from Doyle. Broadfoot’s uncomfortable evening continued when he was booked for a wild and late foul on Mullen.

After 76 minutes of utterly unconvincing attempts at attacking Killie suddenly conjured up a goal against the run of play. They worked the ball across to the left giving Brandon HAUNSTRUP the chance to shoot from the edge of the area. Mullen and Kerr flung themselves in the way to block, but the ball broke perfectly to leave the Killie left back in the clear with the two Dees on the deck. He shot through Legzdin’s leg to give Kilmarnock a barely deserved toe in the match.

Boosted by the goal they went close only a minute later when Burke’s cross struck Liam Fontaine and Legzdins saved.

The Dark Blues weathered that brief storm and took the game to Killie for the final 10 minutes. Osman Sow had come on for Paul McMullan and then Danny Mullen made way for Declan McDaid. Dundee probed but couldn’t find the third goal they would have richly deserved.

The Dundee performance tonight was much better than the tight scoreline suggests. The Dee dominated the match throughout. Kilmarnock had more possession, but that is irrelevant if teams simply make easy passes till they give the ball away. Dundee’s use of the ball, their movement and passing were all superior, and the Dee should really have had more than two goals. The Dundee defence had a fine game and restricted Kilmarnock to one shot on target, their goal.

The Premiership play-off final is very finely poised, but the Dark Blues did enough tonight to face the second leg with confidence. It will be a tough evening in Ayrshire on Monday, but if Dundee can maintain the form they showed tonight they surely have a good chance.

Match report written by James Christie - Dundee Official Website

Squad Statistics (as at May 20th, 2021)

2020-21 All Time
Adam Legzdins (GK)34 15 - 15 -
Lee Ashcroft27 326326
Christie Elliott29 321381
Liam Fontaine35 234234
Cammy Kerr25 1911804
Jordan McGhee24 215517
Charlie Adam35 317317
Shaun Byrne27 31 - 60 -
Paul McGowan33 34325118
Paul McMullan25 19 - 19 -
Danny Mullen26 337337
Jordan Marshall (sub)24 311541
Declan McDaid (sub)25 271584
Osman Sow (sub)31 27102710

League Table (as at May 20th, 2021)

Pld W D L +/- Pts
1. Hearts 27 17 6 4 +39 57
2. Dundee 27 12 9 6 +9 45
3. Raith Rovers 27 12 7 8 +9 43
4. Dunfermline 27 10 9 8 +4 39
5. Inverness CT 27 8 12 7 +5 36
6. Queen of South 27 9 5 13 -13 32
7. Arbroath 27 7 9 11 -6 30
8. Ayr Utd 27 6 11 10 -6 29
9. Morton 27 6 11 10 -11 29
10. Alloa 27 5 7 15 -30 22

Manager's Programme Notes

Despite being a shortened season in terms of games, it has felt like a long one with the amount of work that has been put in on and off the park in this unique campaign.

We have faced things that no other Dundee Football Club coaching staff and playing squad have been through before against the backdrop of a global pandemic.

That is why I'm so pleased we have advanced to the final of the Premiership play-off and given ourselves a real chance of returning to where we feel the club belongs.

However we are well aware that this job hasn't even begun yet. The real test comes tonight and on Monday.

It was a bit of a strange game and a tough game against Raith Rovers last time out. They came and gave us a bit of a fright but if someone said you'll lose one and win one and get through to the final I'd have taken it.

It wasn't our best performance but it didn't need to be. We just needed to find a way to get through the tie. The tie was effectively won on Wednesday. We just had to do our job properly.

Over the two legs we were the better team and that part of the job is done. Tonight we know we'll face a tough match as Kilmarnock are fighting for their Premiership survival but we will give everything to get a positive outcome from these two matches.

Finally I just want to say how excited I am that fans will be back at Dens tonight. It's not ideal as I know so many more want to be here and the numbers are restricted but it's start and hopefully when I'm next writing my programme notes they will be for a Premiership fixture with a full house at Dens.