Partick Thistle leapfrogged Dundee to reach the top six with their third win over the Dens Park side this season.
What Dundee could have done with at least one of their five goals from Saturday’s mauling of Motherwell. They have yet to score against Thistle this season – unless you count the first-half own goal from defender Julen Etxabeguren that separated the sides last night.
Try as the might they could not get any change from a resolute and in-form Thistle side who racked up a third successive league win and their fourth in a row in all competitions. Even six minutes of time added on, much of it from when Etxabeguren was carried off on a stretcher during the second-half, could not yield the chance Dundee craved. It is feared the Spaniard has ruptured his Achilles.
Paul Hartley fielded an unchanged starting XI for the third time in succession, which was hardly surprising given Dundee’s last two results were a win over Rangers and a handsome 5-1 victory at Motherwell.
But they were minded to keep an eye on Chris Erskine, a thorn in their side for Dundee United as well as Thistle. And he again caught the eye before being substituted late on. But Dundee continued to toil throughout.
Before opening the scoring Thistle created openings for both Erskine and Ryan Edwards, who fluffed a chance in front of goal after 17 minutes. Dundee, meanwhile, struggled to replicate anything like the incisive play that saw them plunder five first-half goals at the weekend.
Here they just could not get going, hampered by a well-drilled, physical and fast-breaking Thistle side who were well worth the three points.
Talk of Dundee leaving Dens Park was re-ignited on the eve of this game following an interview given by managing director John Nelms.
But the hosts had been hoping to maintain an impressive run of home form that had seen them collect 17 out of 21 points at Dens, including a first win against Rangers here since 1992.
But Thistle will be among those hoping Dundee remain at Dens a while longer. They were the last team to win here in the league in October and they repeated the feat this time with much at stake in the battle for the top six.
Thistle always looked the more likely of the two sides to continue their winning runs, with Edwards running things in midfield, Kris Doolan an ever present threat and Erskine lively as ever.
It was Doolan who created the opener just before the half hour mark with a cut back from the right that was turned in at the near post by Etxabeguren, with goalkeeper Scott Bain helpless.
Dundee complained about a foul on Darren O’Dea in the run-up to the own goal but there was still plenty opportunity to cope more adequately with the Thistle attack.
It was the fifth goal Thistle have struck against Dundee this season. The Dens men failed once again to find a reply against opposition now firmly identified as their bogey side.
The second half continued in the same pattern – with Thistle looking dangerous, often because Dundee had given the ball away. A powerful James Vincent effort from 20 yards was a shot on target at least for Dundee. Tomas Cerny made an unorthodox stop though should be praised for even this given how little he was involved prior to this flurry of activity.
But the flow continued mostly towards the Dundee goal. Cammy Kerr pushed a Doolan shot towards Bain with his midriff with Dundee fearing the loss of a second own goal.
Dundee’s bid to find their rhythm was hindered by the injury to Etxabeguren, whose eventful night ended with him being carried form the field after a lengthy stoppage. He was replaced by Kostadin Gadzhalov while Dundee also took the opportunity to send on Danny Williams, for Craig Wighton.
Faissal El Bakhtaoui’s arrival for the injured Henrik Ojamaa provided Dundee with a little spark but Thistle remained in control save for a brief worry when O’Dea headed just past.