Dundee 1-1 Hamilton: Honours even at Dens Park

Hamilton's Marting Canning celebrates after putting his side 1-0 up. Picture: SNS
Hamilton's Marting Canning celebrates after putting his side 1-0 up. Picture: SNS
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IT WAS not only a late show at Dens Park yesterday, with two goals coming in the last five minutes, but also a mighty bemusing one. Dundee, who were frustrated by their inability to capitalise on Dougie Imrie’s sending off early in the second half, were in the end expressing relief that they had retrieved a point after falling behind to Hamilton player-manager Martin Canning’s header so late on.

Scorers: Dundee - Stewart 88; Hamilton Academical - Canning 85

The visitors, whilst cursing the fact that they could not hold on to this precious lead, could still take comfort from a performance that exuded spirit and resilience as well as their first point since Canning took charge.

He was certainly keen to dwell on the positive side of things after the game. “In terms of the game overall, I think we deserved to win it,” said Canning.

“At 11 v 11 we were the dominant team, moved the ball well and created opportunities. But when we went down to ten men, the boys’ character was different class and we worked really hard.”

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The visitors opened this game with the bit between their teeth, with Tony Andreu seeing a shot cannon off a post and across the face of Scott Bain’s goal after only a couple of minutes.

This set the tone for a fair chunk of fiercely competitive first half. The Lanarkshire side may have fielded the recently re-signed veteran Jason Scotland as a lone striker but he did a pretty good job of keeping James McPake and Kostadin Gadzhalov fully pre-occupied, holding the ball up well and intelligently. He ought to have made the breakthrough just before half-time but wastefully blazed his effort over the bar. However, Canning then missed an even better opportunity, heading over from close range following an Ali Crawford corner.

Dundee applied pressure more intermittently, with a Jim McAlister shot and Gadzhalov header which was cleared off the Accies goal line being the best of their chances in the opening 45 minutes.

Matters appeared to swing significantly in the hosts’ favour, however, following Imrie’s red card for a senseless stamp on Greg Stewart shortly after the interval.

They camped in the Hamilton half for long spells but struggled to carve out clear-cut openings. Stewart sent a shot whistling past and a McAlister header drifted just wide and that was about it.

As shivering supporters began to grumble at the prospect of a goalless draw, the game ended with an unexpected flourish.

Canning appeared to have secured a stunning victory for his side as he rose to send a powerful header into the roof of the net from a Crawford corner.

However, just when Dundee needed it, Stewart – who turned in a fine performance throughout the afternoon – conjured up an equaliser for the hosts almost immediately, sending a sweet curling effort past Michael McGovern from the edge of the box.

“I’m happy we got a point after going a goal down,” reflected Dundee manager Paul Hartley.

“We weren’t at our best today, but it keeps our unbeaten run going to six games. We know we’ll need to play better against Celtic in the cup next week.”

Dundee: Bain; Irvine, McPake, Gadzhalov, Dyer; McGowan, Thomson (McGinn 46), McAlister, Harris (Wighton 71); Clarkson (Tankulic 46), Stewart.

Accies: McGovern; Gordon, Canning, Garcia Tena, Hendrie; Routledge, Gillespie (Longridge 78); Crawford, Andreu, Imrie; Scotland (Brophy 90).

Referee: C Allan. Attendance: 5,618