Blues win battle of the blues but St Johnstone and Dundee going in opposite directions in kit clash farce

Delight for the blues. Dejection for the, er, blues.

St Johnstone's Chris Kane scores his side's opener in the 3-1 defeat of Dundee - unusually both sides were allowed to play in blue (Photo by Roddy Scott / SNS Group)
St Johnstone's Chris Kane scores his side's opener in the 3-1 defeat of Dundee - unusually both sides were allowed to play in blue (Photo by Roddy Scott / SNS Group)

In what has become a trying season for Dundee on their return to the top flight, one consolation has been a recognition that they have, on the whole, played well despite the alarming lack of goals.

That most certainly can’t be claimed here. Amateur hour extended to the decision to let both sides wear their home strips. It was blue on blue, something that was particularly hard to distinguish between on a wet day when the players’ tops were sodden. But be assured, the similarities ended there. St Johnstone are going in one direction and Dundee very much the other.

If James McPake – who was sitting in the stand here as he served a one-match suspension – can’t stop the rot soon, Dundee will be booking a quick return to the Championship.

A banner hailing St Johnstone midfielder Liam Craig's club record 442nd appearance (Photo by Roddy Scott / SNS Group)

Advertisement

Hide Ad

The statistics do not lie. Despite having access to some prodigious Scottish striking talent, they are struggling at that end of the pitch. Centre-half Ryan Sweeney’s header after 73 minutes at least prevented a club record equalling fifth successive top-flight game without a goal.

Fair enough, Leigh Griffiths wasn’t risked here. He is recovering from a calf injury. But Dundee had Jason Cummings up front alongside Paul McMullan and yet barely fashioned a chance in the opening 45 minutes. It got a little better in the second half

But those in dark blue were still a pale imitation of the hosts, who made the game safe just 34 seconds in that second period when Stevie May scored to put his side three up and send many Dundee fans rushing for the exits.

There was slight alarm among the home supporters when Dundee pulled one back with 17 minutes left but the fact Michael O’Halloran should have almost immediately restored St Johnstone’s three-goal lead when he was put straight through said it all. The in-form wing-back slid the ball wide.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

He had already done sufficient damage with an assist for Chris Kane’s opener after a glorious ball down the right from Shaun Rooney. It did seem significant to note that this passage of play stemmed from Dundee defender Lee Ashcroft passing to another blue-shirted player. Unfortunately for him and his team the blue-shirted player was one from St Johnstone.

If this was down to confusion on his part then it underlines the failure of referee Greg Aitken to apply some fairly basic rules to prevent colour clashes as blatant as the one here. But then McPake would be clutching at straws to blame this for his side’s failures here and he certainly didn’t do that afterwards.

He ordered his players to look at themselves in the mirror with only Cillian Sheridan, one of two half-time substitutes for the visitors, getting pass marks.

The others were all at sea in front of the club’s technical director, Gordon Strachan. Confidence visibly drained from Dundee when Kane slid in a second after May’s cross following good work from O’Halloran six minutes before the break.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

The already forlorn hopes of a Dundee comeback were extinguished shortly after the re-start when May had all the time he wanted to pick his spot. While Sweeney’s header might have stopped an unwanted club record placing a further stain on Dundee's day, it was already abject enough.

A message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription. https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.