Over 50,000 people saw Dundee fall to defeat to Rangers on Saturday and few probably realised they were witnessing history. A fifth straight loss meant Dundee had suffered their worst start to a league season since before the Wall Street crash.
Not since 1927-8, when they opened with six league defeats, have the Dens Park club begun a campaign so poorly. Everything that can go wrong is going wrong, as Saturday’s 4-0 defeat at Ibrox proved.
Injuries required manager Neil McCann to bring defender Darren O’Dea in from the cold. His less than optimum fitness levels – he hadn’t featured since the penultimate game of last season – contributed to the concession of a penalty on the stroke of half-time, James Tavernier scoring to put Rangers three up.
Then there was the sight of the 38-year-old veteran brought in by McCann to score goals and bring reassurance to the dressing room being sent off on 78 minutes. Dundee will appeal Kenny Miller’s red card today but if that’s rejected he will now be suspended for Saturday’s vital home clash with Hibs.
Dundee looked a ragged outfit on Saturday and are sorely lacking in confidence as they rack up defeat after defeat. What a time to make your debut for a club. On-loan centre-half Andy Boyle is probably still recovering physically as well as mentally from the experience.
Saturday counted as Boyle’s first action of the season having not played at all for Preston North End so far this campaign. The 27-year-old was signed on the last day of the transfer window.
He was brought in for his first start after injury robbed McCann of skipper Josh Meekings and Ryan Innis, another new signing. The strange departure of Steven Caulker has further reduced McCann’s options in defence.
Boyle, pictured, claims the atmosphere is still upbeat around the club. “To be honest, around the training ground it has been quite upbeat and you would never know we are in this position,” he said. “It is a great bunch of lads and it is one of those things where we need a bit of luck, a point or a win to get us going and that will kick us on a bit.”
This will need to happen this weekend if the pressure on McCann is to start easing. An ever-worsening position at the foot of the table is not ideal while so many new signings are still trying to find their feet. Boyle is also unfamiliar with a relegation fight.
“It is new to me but it is one of them: you just roll your sleeves up and get on with it,” he said. “We’ve got to start games better first and foremost. That’s a big thing. We need to cut the individual errors out as those seem to be costing us a lot of goals.
“I thought in the first half we did create a couple of chances. Maybe if we had taken one of them, then it’s a different game.”