The vultures circling over Neil McCann’s managerial tenure at Dundee have flown off for now.
This victory was desperately needed but it was also well earned. There was no lack of effort or cohesion from a group of players who might have been inclined to feel sorry for themselves, with goals in either half by Andy Boyle and Karl Madianga securing what must have seemed a whole lot more than just three points.
McCann has never doubted the ability of himself or his squad to turn things around and he was understandably enjoying the moment after this one. “I’m really pleased for the guys,” he enthused, “I’ve told them to go and enjoy their weekends now.”
“We absolutely dominated the first half. We knew they would go more direct in the second half and you have to deal with that – and the players did.”
In many ways Dundee’s performance in the opening 30 minutes was one we had witnessed before, playing with a degree of assurance and compact enough to restrict their opponents to barely a handful of promising openings.
But as the half progressed there was something palpably different. They started to carve out a few decent chances, notably when Elton Ngwatala’s low cutback across the face of the Accies goal really ought to have been put away by Ben Kallman.
The probing by Dundee gave rise to growing uncertainty in the home defence and they began to concede set pieces. It was one of these that yielded the moment McCann had been craving for – his side getting a lead to clasp on to. A floated set piece by Calvin Miller picked out Boyle at the far post and his header looped into the opposite corner of Gary Woods’ goal.
Accies’ efforts prior to the break seemed like a concerted attempt to reinforce their status as the great enigma of the Premiership. Just when you think they’ve turned the corner with a fine win over St Mirren they then put in a no show.
At least they gave it go after half time. Substitute Rakish Bingham sent a free kick just wide, Steven Boyd wasted a chance when Elliott Parish was weak with a punch and they watched in angst as both James Keatings and Bingham saw crash efforts off the crossbar.
It wasn’t pretty or particularly convincing but Dundee clung on. They attacked only sporadically in the second half, though if a shot from Ryan Inniss hadn’t been miraculously blocked by Woods they could probably have spared themselves a few palpitations. Having just survived yet another narrow escape they wrapped it up right at the end with Madianga emphatically drilling a cutback into the net in time added on.