POLE position in the Championship changed hands for the first time in four months as Dundee defeated Morton 2-1, while long-time leaders Hamilton were going down 1-0 to Alloa.
The Dark Blues shrugged off their disappointing William Hill Scottish Cup exit to Raith Rovers last weekend to move to the summit by defeating a Greenock side who remain stuck at the other end of the table.
Dundee got an indication that things were going to go their way on 16 minutes when Peter MacDonald released Craig Beattie and he skipped around Morton goalkeeper Nicolas Caraux.
Just when Beattie was set to score, he slipped and sent in a mishit shot which fortuitously struck home skipper Scott McLaughlin and crossed the line.
Former Morton men MacDonald and Jim McAlister came close to adding a second before it was 2-0 just seconds from half-time when Declan Gallagher rose highest to head home a Nicky Riley corner.
Morton rallied in the second half and Dougie Imrie cracked home a 15-yard shot with just over half an hour left. However, they could not force a leveller.
Dens Park manager John Brown said: “It has been tough work to get into top spot and I am delighted that we have done it. There were a few people at the start of the season who did not think that we could put a challenge in and, hopefully, we are proving them wrong.”
“Morton may be bottom, but Cappielow is always a tough venue to come to and win.”
Morton interim manager David Hopkin was disappointed with the goals his side conceded as he said: “We made mistakes and that gave us a mountain to climb. Despite that, I thought the boys showed a lot of spirit and that is pleasing.”
Alloa boss Paul Hartley is in danger of upsetting the townsfolk of his birthplace after leading his Recreation Park side to a second 1-0 win over Hamilton this season.
The New Douglas Park hosts created several openings in the first half but found Wasps goalkeeper Scott Bain in fine form and, after reaching half-time with the game goalless, Hartley’s side scored the winner just two minutes after the restart. A corner was not properly cleared and Kevin Crawley’s return cross was headed in by Darryl Meggatt for his first ever Alloa goal.
Accies responded positively, but poor finishing by Tony Andreu and fine stops by Bain to deny substitute Andy Ryan ensured that the visitors took home the three points.
Falkirk leapfrogged Raith Rovers into third place with a 3-1 success over the Kirkcaldy men at the Falkirk Stadium.
The Bairns led after just three minutes when Stephen Kingsley’s cross was inch perfect for Craig Sibbald to head home. Midway through the second half, Connor McGrandles shot home from a tight angle after Rory Loy had been denied.
Kingsley secured the points just after half-time when he forced the ball in from close range with substitute Greig Spence grabbing a consolation for Raith with a low shot 17 minutes from time.
Jimmy Nicholl’s second-time-around managerial debut for Cowdenbeath was going well until disaster struck in the final 13 minutes and Livingston left Central Park with a 3-2 win. Kane Hemmings had put the Fifers two goals to the good with a pair of second-half strikes and a morale-boosting win was on the cards until Marc McNulty headed a goal back.
Andy Barrowman then grabbed a second for the West Lothian side with four minutes left and Nicholl was denied even a point in injury time when McNulty tapped in after Grant Adam had pulled off a fine save.
Queen of the South moved above hosts Dumbarton thanks to a 1-0 success that was secured by former Son Iain Russell, who struck after 15 minutes with an effort that was deflected past Jamie Ewings, with Dumbarton unable to force a leveller.