Ten-man Dundee stopped their losing streak as they held on for a goalless Ladbrokes Premiership draw with Kilmarnock.
Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke reckoned that a “fear of losing” from both sets of players contributed to a pretty drab affair at Dens Park.
Dundee supporters will have been glad to see their team’s five-game losing streak halted, especially after Darren O’Dea’s sending off for two quickfire bookings late on meant the Dees were hanging on at the end.
Kilmarnock fans, too, will have been happy enough with a point that continues their steady improvement under new manager Clarke. The Rugby Park outfit are now undefeated in their last four away trips. But, for both sets of fans, the contest is unlikely to live long in the memory.
“A lot of honest endeavour from both teams,” was Clarke’s assessment afterwards. “It looked like a game between two teams that haven’t had the best of starts to the season. Probably a little bit of a fear of losing for both sides. The first half was pretty much a non-event. The second half opened up a little bit.”
Kilmarnock kept the same side which had defeated Hearts in their last outing, while Dundee were boosted by having on-loan Celtic midfielder Scott Allan back on the bench following his recent groin operation.
It was a hesitant start by both sides until Dundee were presented with a chance in the 20th minute. Alan Power was caught in possession by Paul McGowan, who drove forward as the visiting defence backed off. McGowan looked like going it alone until he opted to cross for Marcus Haber but his delivery was poor and the chance was lost.
But it was that kind of game. Opportunities were few and far between and the half-time whistle was a blessing.
Dundee began the second half with more of a tempo, with Faisal El Bakhtaoui seeing his long-range shot blocked and former Killie man Mark O’Hara thwarted in his efforts to seize the rebound.
Allan was thrown on in the 77th minute but it was the visitors who created the next opportunity when substitute Eamonn Brophy found space inside the box, only for O’Dea to block his effort.
Kilmarnock substitute Lee Erwin then found himself clean through but could only shoot straight at home goalkeeper Elliot Parish, who stood his ground.
A minute later O’Dea was sent off after chopping down Rory McKenzie to leave his side hanging on. Gordon Greer almost won it in injury time when his header came crashing back off the bar.
Dundee remain bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership but manager Neil McCann was taking the positives at full-time. “First clean sheet of the season, which I am pleased about,” he said.
“I thought we completely dominated the first half, without really looking like we were going to penetrate too much. You can see how hard Kilmarnock have been working under Steve.
“I asked them in the second half to be a little bit more aggressive in our forward play. To my mind Kilmarnock just played to hit us on the counter attack. But I felt overall probably a point would be a fair reflection on the game.”