TIME was running out and hopes were fading for Dundee on Saturday – then two events joined to keep them in the SPL. First Ryan Conroy’s deflected free kick gave them the three points at home to Hearts, and then in Edinburgh Leigh Griffiths’ equaliser for Hibs ensured St Mirren only got a point.
The home crowd at Dens Park celebrated both goals with almost equal fervour, and Dundee’s Brian Easton said that Griffiths’ strike as well as Conroy’s had given them fresh impetus just as they were beginning to fear the game was up.
“As the minutes tick on you start to get worried that it’s not going to happen for you, but we dominated the whole game and fortunately we did get a goal,” he said. “We’d found out at half-time that Hibs were a goal up down the road, but we didn’t know anything else about how that game had gone, then we heard the cheer go up and that gave us a good lift.
“We had to concentrate on putting it to bed. We’re delighted to know we’re still in it for another week.”
It may only be five days now. Eight points clear with three games to play, St Mirren will secure their SPL status if they win at Tynecastle on Saturday. Dundee do not play again until the following day, when they are at home to Aberdeen, so all they can do for the time being is hope the nerves start jangling in Paisley.
“If I was them I’d probably start getting a bit nervous,” Easton added. “They know the form we’re in and we’re fighting for our lives.
“I wouldn’t blame them for being worried. But we’ll not worry too much about them. Hopefully other teams do us favours, but we’ve got to win our next three games. It’s going to be hard to do, but we’re confident we can give it a good go.
“A lot of people have already written us off. We’re just going out and making sure that we win our games, no matter what happens in other games. Even if St Mirren do win one of their last games and we go down, we want to go down fighting. There’s nothing worse than going down through your own faults.”
It took them long enough to kill off Hearts, whose best spell had come early on, before Andy Webster’s dismissal for a second bookable offence.
“It changed the game,” Hearts right-back Jamie Hamill said. “He’s got two bookings which I thought were a wee bit harsh, but the referee made up his mind.”
Hamill and his team-mates had been aiming to win three matches in a row for the first time this season, but a point appeared to be the most they could hope for once they were down to ten men, and in the end they could not even manage that.
“We’d done really well the previous two weeks, so hopefully we can push on against St Mirren,” Hamill added. “It’s going to be a tough game.”