DUNDEE fans celebrated one of their favourite sons last night as 1,750 of them descended on South London for Julian Speroni’s testimonial.
The Argentine goalkeeper, inducted into the Dees’ Hall of Fame in March after starring for them from 2001 to 2004, has spent his time since leaving Tayside at Selhurst Park.
He was desperate for Paul Hartley’s men to provide opposition in his tribute match and their supporters travelled 500 miles to help raise £175,000 for charity through ticket sales.
Speroni said: “All the fans who have come have made it a very special night and I have a lot of thanks to the Dundee fans for coming all the way here.
“I was delighted Dundee accepted my invitation to be our opponents and I appreciate all of those who made the journey down from Dens Park.”
Speroni played for Dundee during one of the most exciting periods in the club’s history and the visitors’ squad reflected that as some of his former team-mates turned out to honour him.
Ex-Dens stars Giorgi Nemsadze, Fabien Caballero, Juan Sara, Beto Carranza and Temuri Ketsbaia – all now retired – were listed as substitutes and appeared after the break.
Stoke’s Charlie Adam – a lifelong Dees fan – started for the away side after asking to play in the game ahead of Scotland’s matches with Qatar and Ireland next month.
He and Palace pair James McArthur and Barry Bannan – also in Gordon Strachan’s pool – came through the first 45 minutes unscathed before coming off.
Speroni’s son Thiago kicked off the game and played to Adam, who tried to repeat his goal at Chelsea this season but shot well wide from his own half.
From there, Palace dominated for large spells and went ahead after seven minutes when Yannick Bolasie bundled in off Kyle Gourlay after good footwork by Wilfred Zaha.
Dundee, whose players each had Speroni’s name on their backs instead of their own, did have chances to level.
But Adam was wasteful when opportunities came his way as he fired straight at Speroni with another long-range effort then volleyed over.
Chung-yong Lee made it two midway through the first period when Gourlay spilled Bolasie’s shot and Dwight Gayle added a third on the half-hour mark.
Dylan Carreiro pulled one back after a smart disguised pass by Adam but Gayle restored the three-goal cushion seven minutes before the interval with a tap-in. Adam came back off the bench for the closing stages and he and substitute Cammy Kerr struck in the last five minutes to give the final score a more respectable look.
Crystal Palace 4-3 Dundee
Scorers: Crystal Palace - Bolasie (7), Lee (23), Gayle (30, 38); Dundee - Carreiro (34), Adam (85), Kerr (86)
Crystal Palace: J Speroni; Ward, Hangeland, Delaney, Ramage; Zaha, Lee, McArthur, Bannan; Gayle, Bolasie.
Dundee: Gourlay; McGinn, McPake, Gadzhalov, Irvine; Carreiro, McAlister, Adam, Stewart; Tankulic, Wighton.
Referee: Dermot Gallagher.