St Mirren 2-1 Dundee: Mullen fires Buddies to win on top flight return

Danny Mullen scored twice as St Mirren recorded a win on their return to top flight action. Picture: SNS Group
Danny Mullen scored twice as St Mirren recorded a win on their return to top flight action. Picture: SNS Group
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St Mirren started the day by raising the Championship flag for their runaway success of last season and finished it with reinforced belief that their first campaign back in the top flight of Scottish football need not be a weekly grind against the threat of relegation, as they took to the challenge with real gusto and secured all three points.

That said, it may be a while before they’re gifted points like they manner they were in Paisley.

Jack Hamilton, signed this summer to be Dundee’s new No.1, made what can only be described as a complete howler in the game’s dying minutes, handing victory to the Buddies.

It was in stark contrast to home keeper Craig Samson, who deservedly took the plaudits for a man-of-the-match performance which included a vital second-half penalty save.

“Of course he is,” said McCann when asked if Hamilton was feeling down in the dressing room. “He’s come in and apologised to the boys. He’s made a mistake.

“As a keeper if you do that it normally ends up in the back of the net and no-one can console you.

“But I’m not going to go through him as I thought he made some good stops in the first-half. He’s made a mistake which he knows. I’m not going to go in and state the obvious.”

Both teams traded blows throughout the match, but none more so than in the opening 12 minutes. The visitors had the first two chances.

Jean Mendy flashed a header right at Samson, then Sofien Moussa sliced his finish wide of goal after being played through by Paul McGowan.

The home side took the lead shortly after. Cammy Smith and Paul McGinn combined for the latter to find Danny Mullen streaking into the six-yard box and he glanced his header past Hamilton.

Dundee answered almost immediately. A high ball forward was not properly cleared by the St Mirren defence, allowing Elton Ngwatala to ping a superb first-time effort which found the back of the net from 20 yards via the inside of the post.

The goal subdued St Mirren for a period but they picked it up again ten minutes later. Matty Willock headed over at the back post before Smith was involved again, flashing a shot wide of goal.

Each side would have opportunities right before the break. Dundee defender Josh Meekings saw a header loop tantalising over the crossbar, while Smith saw a low drive squirm wide after Hamilton got a touch on it.

The visitors increased the pressure after the break and really should have pushed themselves back in front. Mendy missed two chances in the space of a minute.

After finding nothing but air with an attempted shot ten yards out, he then failed to make proper contact with a Jesse Curran cross.

The Senegalese striker, signed this summer from Lokeren, was played through again on 55 minutes, but his wild finish flew wide.

Three minutes later Mendy ran through once more. This time he was all alone as Samson inexplicably decided against coming off his line, a mistake the keeper would compound by bringing down the attacker.

Referee Alan Muir deemed the offence to be worthy of a yellow card, something which irked McCann, as Samson was allowed to stay on the park and repel Moussa’s penalty.

After Mendy and Moussa each had further opportunities, the game looked to be heading for a draw until Hamilton’s calamity.

The keeper tried to control a pass back but tripped over the ball and allowed Ryan Flynn to take it off him.

The substitute opted against going for goal with everyone in the ground screaming “shoot!” and instead teed it up for Mullen to net the winner.