This is becoming something of a habit. Aberdeen’s dominance of Dundee shows no sign of abating as they consigned their opponents to this latest defeat.
Gary Mackay-Steven’s 75th minute penalty ensured ten straight victories for Derek McInnes’ side in this particular fixture, although this was undoubtedly as close as they’ve been run in recent times.
Their domination includes a 7-0 annihilation at this exact venue back in March 2017 when Paul Hartley was in charge of Dundee, but Neil McCann’s side couldn’t fault anyone but themselves for coming away with nothing here.
Sofien Moussa, their Tunisian striker, wasted two golden scoring opportunities either side of half-time, making it wholly inevitable they would be made to pay in the end.
Mackay-Steven indeed punished them with his spot-kick after Genseric Kusunga, the Angolan defender, had raised his hand in trying to block Dominic Ball’s header towards goal, leaving the Dark Blues deflated.
“I did feel a goal was coming because of our pressure and perseverance so we’re just delighted to come away from this difficult venue with three points,” reflected McInnes afterwards.
It was only natural the visitors should arrive here with something of a swagger despite lacking spark in their opening-day 1-1 draw with Rangers six days earlier.
Dundee, though, were intent on bouncing back from losing 2-1 to St Mirren, and McCann stuck by goal-keeper Jack Hamilton whose late error gifted Saints their winning goal.
Moussa hadn’t done himself proud either, having watched his weak penalty saved by Craig Samson, although he was given another chance to make amends.
Dundee did earn plaudits for some of their slick outfield play last weekend but what cost them was the lack of a killer instinct and the same was true of this 90 minutes.
It wasn’t until almost 15 minutes had been played before the first real shot on goal. Kharl Madianga, Dundee’s French midfielder, attempted to enliven proceedings and his effort from distance just cleared Joe Lewis’ crossbar in the visitors’ goal.
Moussa was busy enough putting himself about up front and had an ideal opportunity in 21 minutes to redeem himself in the eyes of his own fans.
Jesse Curran, their Australian full-back, went on a galloping run down the right and his cross eluded the entire Dons defence, only for Moussa to swipe wildly at his finish which sailed considerably wide of the target.
There was no lack of early-season energy or guts. Midway through the first-half, Lewis Ferguson was guilty of a reckless challenge on Madianga right in front of Bobby Madden, the referee.
McCann was livid and expressed his annoyance with opposite number McInnes, his former Rangers team-mate. As the respective managers engaged in a heated touchline confrontation, Ferguson received his rightful punishment in the form of a yellow-card.
Aberdeen threatened just after the half-hour mark. Niall McGinn’s whipped cross caused some consternation within the hosts defensive ranks, only for Sam Cosgrove to glance his header well wide of Hamilton’s goal.
The first-half still simmered along with neither team really looking like taking any real control.
Michael Devlin, the Aberdeen central defender, was cautioned for going in high on Moussa.
Soon after, Cosgrove had another sniff of goal thanks to Stevie May’s cut-back inside the box, but this time he shot without conviction.
This was not Moussa’s day. Adil Nabi, the Dundee substitute, threaded through a pass for his team-mate early in the second-half.
Just when composure was most required, Moussa hurried his effort and his failure to even test Lewis in the away goal saw him receive a few unpleasantries from those exasperated home supporters.
Jean Mendy wasn’t much better a few minutes later. On this occasion, Moussa was the provider with a forward flick, but his Senegalese team-mate was just as innefectual in front of goal.
Bruce Anderson was one man who knew the way to goal. The teenager had denied Steven Gerrard victory in his first league match in charge of Rangers last weekend, notching a dramatic last-gasp equaliser.
He nearly struck again when, in 65 minutes, his left-foot shot from 12-yards came crashing back off the bar with Hamilton beaten.
But the visitors proceeded to prevail even when not at their fluent best.
Ball connected with McGinn’s corner and Kusunga stupidly stuck out his hand for which he was booked.
MacKay-Steven was calmness personified inside Dens Park, securing victory with a cool kick in full view of the boisterous travelling support.
McCann was left in no doubt about side’s deficiencies.
“If you create three 100 per cent chances and you don’t work the keeper once that’s where you fall down,” said McCann. “The guys just need to slow down and it’s sore because we could have been sitting with six points instead of none.”