Alarm bells ring at Dens Park as Dundee sink without a fight

A very unhappy Neil  McCann trudges along the Dens Park track following the altercation at full-time. Picture: SNS.
A very unhappy Neil McCann trudges along the Dens Park track following the altercation at full-time. Picture: SNS.
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Once the over-riding emotion had began to subside, there soon came a cold realisation that this may only be the start of Dundee’s mounting 
troubles.

Neil McCann, their manager who exudes passion, let his own anger boil over in becoming so riled with Zander Clark that TV pictures appeared to show him striking the St Johnstone substitute keeper on the face while Dens Park became engulfed with pure bedlam upon the full-time whistle.

Despite claiming Clark had refused to take his hand off him prior to his touchline retaliation, McCann now faces the prospect of a ban should the SFA find him guilty of excessive misconduct.

Losing their boss who wears his heart on his sleeve is one thing, but Dundee’s descent and the reality of the considerable challenge which lies ahead is another. Their fifth home league defeat in a row, the timing and nature of this capitulation has set alarm bells ringing round Dens.

When a team so obviously in need of a boost fails so miserably to even match their opponents for sheer effort ,as was the case on Saturday, then trouble can only beckon.

Elliott Parish, their keeper, admitted Dundee were guilty of being outfought by Tommy Wright’s visitors and must roll up their sleeves quickly if they are to survive what is now a genuine scrap for Premiership survival.

St Johnstone made the short journey back to Perth having barely had to break sweat for the points, while the Dark Blues plunged into tenth place, just three points above second-bottom Partick Thistle who occupy the dreaded play-off spot.

Parish, who was blameless for all four goals at the weekend which began with young substitute Jordan Piggott’s 24th minute own goal and was followed by Chris Kanes’s double and a further strike by Blair Alston, found the lack of fight within the home ranks galling.

“It’s tough to come off a pitch and say they’ve outworked us,” said Parish, pictured. “Maybe they have. That hurts a lot to say that a team outworked you. You should give nothing less than 100 per cent every week.

“We’ve got a tough run at the moment, but it doesn’t matter who we’re playing against. “We’ve never been far enough away to say that we were never in a fight.

“We all understand where we are. We’re just a couple of wins away from being right out of it.”

Dundee fans perhaps sensed the embarrassment that was about to follow and saw the writing on the wall as early as Kane’s 37th minute goal which brought about the the exit of a number of home supporters who decided even by then they’d seen enough.

For those hardy souls who remained until the bitter end, there was little to offer any optimism with Blair Alston putting Saints out of sight with his 64th minute tap-in before Kane finished things off just two minutes later.

Parish, trying to make sense of Dundee’s poor display, added: “ It was a terrible day all-round. It was down to the players. We didn’t deliver on any front. As a collective, we’re annoyed at each other, because we’re all in this together.

“It’s just frustration because after putting on a performance like that it’s tough to swallow.”

As if things weren’t tough enough, Dundee must somehow lift themselves to ensure they preserve Premiership status. Next up for McCann’s third-bottom side are Derek McInnes’s Aberdeen at Pittodrie and there’s little respite after that with Hearts, Celtic and Rangers all on the horizon.

There is still time to stop the rot but few can argue they shouldn’t be harbouring concern about their current plight.