DUNDEE moved into the top six of the Scottish Premiership as they eventually saw off Kilmarnock 3-1 at Rugby Park.
Scorers: Kilmarnock - Eremenko, 76; Dundee - Stewart, 44, 90; Clarkson, 51
Greg Stewart gave them the lead just prior to the break and the red-hot David Clarkson doubled the advantage soon after the restart.
Alexei Eremenko gave Kilmarnock hope with a great turn and finish but despite their late rally, Dundee sealed the win late on with Stewart’s second of the game.
Both sides came into the match in good form so it was no surprise that the teams looked sharp early on, though it took until the 18th minute for the first goalmouth action to arrive.
Tope Obadeyi was flagged offside as he ran on to Josh Magennis’ fine through-ball and drew a save from Scott Bain, while Eremenko chipped just over when he maybe should have gone for power.
Dundee, and Martin Boyle in particular, then burst into life, the forward going agonisingly close to opening the scoring twice within a minute.
First, he was desperately unlucky as he latched on to a hopeful high ball into the right channel and cracked a stunning effort off the inside of Craig Samson’s left-hand post from fully 25 yards.
The visitors worked the ball back across the area to Boyle again and he beat Lee Ashcroft before producing a great close-range tip over from Samson.
Dundee were in the ascendency now and Stewart soon had an effort deflected just wide from the edge of the area before giving Paul Hartley’s men the lead after 43 minutes from a fine breakaway.
Gary Harkins picked up a clearance on halfway and drove towards the heart of the Killie defence before slipping a nice pass to Clarkson, who immediately helped it on to the unmarked Stewart. The frontman took a touch before coolly slotting the ball under Samson and in off the left-hand post.
The Dees continued their momentum after half-time as a stunning volleyed pass from Clarkson sent Boyle away down the right but he pulled the ball back behind the numerous Dundee players arriving in the box.
Kilmarnock were their own worst enemy at times by giving the ball away but Eremenko was a surprise culprit for the second goal. A slack pass from the normally reliable midfielder presented the ball to Harkins 40 yards from goal and the outstanding former Killie man strolled forward before playing in Clarkson on the left.
The in-form striker took a touch to steady himself before rifling a low left-foot effort across Samson for his fifth goal of an impressive season so far.
Killie had a good chance to reduce their arrears moments later when an inswinging Eremenko free-kick travelled across goal without any takers for the home side
Boyle almost put the game out of sight at the other end, firing a skidding effort just wide of the right-hand post.
The game should have been over as a contest after 65 minutes as Jim McAlister played a neat one-two with Clarkson inside the area but his casual finish was bravely blocked by Mark Connolly.
And Eremenko then produced a great piece of skill to atone for his earlier error and give his side hope of getting something from the game.
A corner from the right was only partially cleared and when it was looped back towards the back post Eremenko controlled and turned beautifully in one movement before finishing past Bain with 15 minutes remaining.
Connolly, Daryll Westlake and Robbie Muirhead went close to an equaliser before Stewart broke to seal the win for Dundee.
Killie goalkeeper Samson came up for a late corner and when Dundee cleared the ball, he tried to tackle Stewart on halfway. The striker skipped over the challenge and held off Connolly before Jamie Hamill cleared his initial effort off the line, but he curled home the follow-up to secure a deserved victory.