The Dens Park side stole into the runners-up spot behind Hearts largely due to the efforts of the Tynecastle side, who delivered the simultaneous favour required against Raith Rovers. Manager James McPake roared his delight at the final whistle after a Jason Cummings brace secured the required three points to book a semi-final play-off place which spares his side an extra tie.
It feels a long time ago since Hearts and Dundee contested a spicy opening game of the season which saw the Tynecastle side run out 6-2 winners. The visitors sunk to the bottom of the table that night, but they have timed their ascent to near perfection – they have of course missed out on their number one target of winning the title.
Dundee did what they had to do to give them a chance of finishing second and Hearts completed the operation with a 4-0 win in Fife. McPake’s side can now enjoy a rest before playing the winners of the quarter-final play off tie between Dunfermline and Raith Rovers, with the first leg taking place on Tuesday.
Dundee do not return to action now until a week on Wednesday. Considering that no side has reached the top-flight after finishing in third or fourth place, it was a hugely significant turn of events for the visitors.
This might have been the most pressing piece of news from Palmerston, but for those many admirers of the finishing prowess of Stephen Dobbie it wasn’t the most momentous aspect. The night pulled the curtain down on the master striker’s Queen of the South career after two goal-laden spells at the club.
He will forever remain stuck on 166 goals and even though the game was played behind closed doors, he still left the field to an ovation from many of those lucky enough to be inside the ground when he was replaced by Niyah Joseph after 73 minutes. He also came out to a guard of honour from his teammates.
A few hundred fans had gathered to greet Dobbie as he arrived at the ground before kick-off to illustrate the depth of feeling for the 38-year-old former Hibs striker.
In a way, the sorcerer was upstaged by the apprentice. Cummings, another scion of Easter Road, is a similar type of watchable player with a nose for goal. He struck twice in the first half to ease his side’s nerves but of course they still had to rely on events at Stark’s Park.
The hosts hit the post with their first attack of the night when Ayo Obileye struck the upright with a shot from the edge of the box. Dobbie’s first effort of the night almost gave someone a precious souvenir by landing in a garden at the Terregles Street end of the ground. A fence blocked its trajectory.
Dundee then asserted control. Paul McMullan smashed the bar after a solo run before he set up Cummings with a long, looping ball over the top. The striker took a touch and drew keeper Jack Leighfield before turning the ball into the net with 17 minutes played. Cummings scored again 17 minutes later when his shot was blocked before rebounding off the striker into the net.