DUNDEE were relegated yesterday and, as might have been expected from a team with John Brown at the helm, they refused to go down quietly.
The Dens Park manager insisted that the Aberdeen midfielder Peter Pawlett should be feeling ashamed of himself after the part he played in the second-half incident with Dundee defender Lewis Toshney that saw the visitors awarded a penalty.
Brown made it known in no uncertain terms that he thought Pawlett had dived to win the award and he criticised the referee for falling for what he believed was an underhand attempt by the player to gain an advantage.
Niall McGinn levelled the scores after Jim McAlister had already given Dundee a 21st-minute lead and, although Rory Fallon was red-carded on the hour mark, the hosts could still not secure the win they needed to survive for another week. “I haven’t really criticised the player [Pawlett] yet but to take a dive he should be ashamed of himself,” said Brown.
“But, there you go. How many cheats are there in the game?”
“That has taken us down,” he added. “I am disappointed for all the fans. Aberdeen didn’t look as if they were going to threaten us.
“You expect officials to do their job and it makes a mockery of it.”
Brown, whose mind games with relegation rivals St Mirren have been a feature of recent weeks, accepted that the time had come to call an end to such antics, as entertaining though they might have been for many.
“So St Mirren survive and they didn’t use the ‘R’ word, so congratulations to Danny Lennon,” he said. “But we frightened a few teams.”
Instead, Brown set his sights on both the referee and Pawlett. “It is the worst thing I have seen,” said the Dundee manager. “We have a referee that can go to his work on a Monday morning and can sleep well tonight,” he added.
“But this is our livelihoods. It has been taken out of our hands. It is a shocking decision for the penalty kick.
“That has taken us down. That decision has taken us down and it’s a disgrace.”
Brown defended Toshney, who could be accused of giving the referee the chance to make the decision by making an unnecessary challenge on the edge of the box.
“He has gone out and stood his ground and the guy [Pawlett] just dives two-footed,” said the Dundee manager. “If anything it must have been a booking for him rather than a penalty kick.”
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes offered his sympathies to Brown, but made the reasonable point that Dundee’s fate was decided in other places, and over a long period of time. The Dens Park side were 15 points adrift of second-last place when Brown took over in February.
“It was not today that has cost Dundee,” he said. “Bomber and his players can take a lot of pride from what they have done over the last few weeks.
“I remember doing the Dundee derby for the BBC before I got the Aberdeen job and it seemed a formality that Dundee were away then.
“But he was that close to taking it to the second-last game of the season. If the season had gone another three or four weeks, he may have just pulled it off.
“Dundee are in good hands, there is no question about that. When you see what Bomber and his players have put into it, there is a feeling of sympathy for that. But he’s been in the game longer than me and knows what it will take to get back. After the game, I shook his hands and just said ‘unlucky’. I know how he will be hurting. There’s not a lot you can say.”
McInnes praised his side for showing appetite for the fray after going behind to McAlister’s volley, and then losing Fallon to a red card for an off-the-ball incident with Declan Gallagher. “As much as I tried to dress it up, their [Dundee’s] cause was greater than ours,” he said. Fallon, however, received no words to comfort him from his manager.
“I have no complaints with the red card,” said McInnes. “I’ve seen it and he kicks out. There was a wee bit before that [between them] but I’m not sure how much was in it. But something has made him lash out.
“But the officials got it spot on and that made the task even harder for us.
“With eleven men, for me, we would have gone on and won the game.”