Dundee count cost after going down with barely a whimper

Where do you start? The hapless concession of a winning goal to St Mirren on the opening day of the season, when Jack Hamilton stumbled over the ball, the number of mediocre loanees filling up the side or what looks increasingly like the hasty sacking of Neil McCann.
Dundee duo James Horsfield, left, and Seny Dieng trudge off the field at Dens Park after defeat by Hamilton confirmed their relegation. Picture: SNS.Dundee duo James Horsfield, left, and Seny Dieng trudge off the field at Dens Park after defeat by Hamilton confirmed their relegation. Picture: SNS.
Dundee duo James Horsfield, left, and Seny Dieng trudge off the field at Dens Park after defeat by Hamilton confirmed their relegation. Picture: SNS.

Or the fact that Dundee, who on Saturday stumbled to the latest and most damaging of Jim McIntyre’s 19 defeats since becoming manager in October, have presented their long-suffering fans with one of the most abject relegations in recent Scottish football 

Perhaps the right and proper place to begin is with the cost. Not in terms of budget, although that’s likely to take a sizeable hit. But in a human sense. Martin Woods, pictured, spelled it out on Saturday evening. Despite the brim of his baseball cap having been pulled over his eyes there was no doubting the sincerity of the tears that were the sign the interview should be terminated on compassionate grounds.

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The Dundee skipper’s own future had been left very much in the air. However, he was more concerned for the plight of others at Dens, those such as the club’s kit woman Lorraine Noble, than his own welfare. But the fact is that relegation – for the second successive season in Woods’ case after going down with Partick Thistle in the play-offs last year – has deprived him the security of another year at Dens Park. He is now left adrift, like so many others.

Of course, several will simply return to their parent clubs. That is one of the problems contributing to Dundee’s dire situation. Six of Saturday’s starting XI were on loan, signed in January as McIntyre attempted to overhaul a squad he had quickly concluded was not good enough. As the manager acknowledged afterwards, the players he brought in have themselves not proved good enough either.

Woods accepts his fair share of the blame although he was far from the worst of Dundee’s performers on Saturday. In fact, he was among the better ones along with Cammy Kerr, the Dundee supporter who is now out of contract after living the dream. Kerr left the pitch with no shirt having thrown it to his fellow fans.

Woods’ contract has a clause that would have triggered another year’s extension in the event of Dundee securing their top-flight status. This looked increasingly unlikely in recent weeks and confirmation arrived on Saturday after Tony Andreu’s 83rd-minute penalty consigned Dundee to their tenth successive league defeat. This equals a club record that has stood since 1898.

The unattached Woods was brought in by Jim McIntyre in November and is very much seen as the manager’s man. Woods signed an extension to his short-term contract earlier this year and had Dundee managed to escape the trap-door, could have looked forward to another year at least at the club.

“I had an option here if we stayed up, so I am now out of contract,” the 33-year-old revealed. “I don’t know. I don’t even want to talk about me because it is such a gutter for the club. It affects everyone. The bits I am most gutted for are the kit woman, who puts her all in every day, and so many others who you build up relationships with.”

Woods was the obvious one to ask about McIntyre, under whom he also played at Ross County.

“I don’t know what the chairman is thinking so I wouldn’t want to touch on that, but I know the manager has got the right kind of mindset and believes in himself that he could get the club back up,” he said. The supporters have already made up their own minds. “Ten-in-a-row, he has to go,” a noisy section chorused on Saturday.

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McIntyre has certainly failed to provide the impact Brian Rice has had since coming in at Accies, who are now a draw away from securing their top-flight status for yet another season thanks to that well-taken penalty by Andreu – a former Dundee United player.

The kick was awarded after Ryan McGowan – another former Dundee United player, who was actually relegated with them at Dens three years ago – made an injudicious challenge on Mickel Miller. It looked a fairly harsh decision but it was notable McGowan did not complain. That’s another problem: apathy. Dundee did not even bother to fill their substitutes’ bench – only six were named rather than the seven permitted.

When the chips were down, when they were meant to be fighting for the lives, they also did not have a single booking to their name.

Maybe that’s another place to start when the in-depth review – imminent according to a club statement on Saturday night – is conducted.