Dundee grant Paul Hartley’s New Year wish against St Johnstone

St Johnstones Brian Easton, left, and Faissal El Bakhtaoui of Dundee engage in an aerial duel. Picture: SNS.
St Johnstones Brian Easton, left, and Faissal El Bakhtaoui of Dundee engage in an aerial duel. Picture: SNS.
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Dundee manager Paul Hartley believes his team are heading into 2017 in fine fettle after blowing away St Johnstone at Dens Park on New Year’s Eve.

The Dark Blues boss had called on his players to end 2016 on a winning note after picking up recently following a sticky start earlier in the campaign, and his plea did not fall on deaf ears.

The rampant hosts triumphed courtesy of first-half goals by Faissal El Bakhtaoui and Kostadin Gadzhalov before Saints captain Steven Anderson turned the ball into his own net in the 57th minute.

Hartley said: “It’s what we wanted. There have been some difficult moments this season so we wanted to round off the year with a win for the supporters.

“We know what we’re capable of on our day and we certainly deserved this win as we played like a team from start to finish.

“That’s what really pleased me overall. It should give us hope for the new year.

“We’ve got a break first of all but then we’ll get back into it and see where we go. The lads are a great bunch and are all determined to climb the table.

“That’s our aim and if we can play like this then we should give ourselves a chance.”

Meanwhile, St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright resisted the temptation to criticise his players having watched their five-game unbeaten run come to an end.

Wright said: “There wasn’t that much wrong with the performance. It’s not as though we didn’t create chances and we hit the woodwork. When you go 2-0 down it’s always difficult and we should have dealt better with their first two goals. But we had a good December until this game so the lads have done well overall.”