WhilE Kenny Shiels’ managerial debut for Morton captured most of the attention in the Championship – despite the Cappielow side’s 2-0 defeat by Falkirk – Dundee quietly returned to the top of the table by beating Alloa 1-0.
The Dark Blues had to work hard to see off Paul Hartley’s side, who had been unbeaten in seven games, with the Wasps denied a half-time lead when Andy Kirk’s goal was ruled out by an offside flag.
Alloa were giving as good as they got in the second half as well but the game’s decisive moment came on 68 minutes when Matt Lockwood picked out Martin Boyle with a far-post cross and his header back across goal was turned home by Peter MacDonald.
There was late drama as Dundee’s Iain Davidson was dismissed in injury time following an off-the-ball incident with Ben Gordon, but there was insufficient time remaining for the hosts to take advantage.
The Dens Park side had climbed into top spot a fortnight ago only to meekly surrender their position in a home defeat by Cowdenbeath last Saturday but manager John Brown was pleased with their response.
Brown said: “The players knew that they had to respond positively after the Cowdenbeath game. They did that with a hard-working performance against a very well-organised Alloa side. They have not lost many games all season and you can see why.
“I am pleased that Peter scored and, hopefully, this will start a decent run from him.”
Hartley said: “They are top but I did not think there was much between the sides. We looked a threat and my players gave terrific effort and application, but we made one mistake and were punished for it.”
Dundee’s return to the summit was assisted by Hamilton going down 2-1 to Dumbarton, former Accie Andy Graham popping up with the winner.
The Sons survived an early scare when Ali Crawford hit the woodwork from 25 yards before they took the lead on 11 minutes when Gary Fleming converted after good work by Mark Gilhaney.
James Keatings levelled 12 minutes from the break after a pass from Mickael Antoine-Curier, with the winner coming 19 minutes from time when Graham bundled the ball home after a corner.
Raith Rovers remain in third place after a ding-dong of a Fife derby with Cowdenbeath that ended 3-3.
Greg Stewart shot home a rebound to give the Central Park side an early lead with Dougie Hill nodding in a leveller before the break.
Calum Elliot put Rovers in front with an hour played, but the Blue Brazil grabbed a second equaliser through Kane Hemmings’ penalty. A spot-kick by Callum Booth with seven minutes left looked to have won the game for the Kirkcaldy men, but Cowden bounced back a third time when Hemmings forced the ball home from close range.
The Queen of the South against Livingston match ended 2-2 with the Lions’ Marc McNulty opening and closing the scoring. After McNulty’s first-time finish on 17 minutes, Michael Paton levelled with a free kick from 25 yards and Queens went ahead just on half-time when Mark Durnan headed home a Chris Mitchell cross. McNulty darted into the home side’s penalty area and cracked home a fine shot to level things with 13 minutes left.
Shiels’ Morton are now six points adrift at the foot of the table after two second-half goals by Falkirk ruined his first game at Cappielow. Kieran Duffie rose to head home the first via the underside of the bar six minutes after the break and the second came on 68 minutes when Rory Loy netted from the spot after Tomas Pecier had fouled Phil Roberts.
Shiels, who cajoled his team from a seat in the stand as he is serving a touchline ban, said afterwards: “There is a lot of work to do and we have to show a real determination to get it done.”