Dundee 0 - 2 St Johnstone: Saints maintain away form as Dundee stay bottom

St Johnstone's Scott Tanser(L) celebrates his opener with Chris Kane. Pic: SNS/Kenny Smith
St Johnstone's Scott Tanser(L) celebrates his opener with Chris Kane. Pic: SNS/Kenny Smith
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There was no beating about the bush this time. Jim McIntyre, the Dundee manager, was so enraged by what he’d witnessed he accused some members of his team of “disappearing” as they capitulated to this costly Tayside derby defeat.

As well as the stinging verbal attack, he quickly insisted they need to inject some serious attitude into their ranks during the January transfer window in their quest for survival which has been made all the harder by these feeble efforts.

McIntyre was powerless at the touchline as he was forced to watch his relegation-threatened troops crumble in what was their final game of 2018 as St Johnstone swept past them with alarming ease to set a new club-record of six straight away wins in the top-flight.

Dundee are still stranded at the foot of the Ladbrokes Premiership and next face Hearts at Tynecastle in late January.

This latest set-back leaves them winless in six games and still languishing two points behind second-bottom St Mirren, but more worrying was the manner in which so many of their players appeared to surrender just when they most needed to react.

While Tommy Wright’s on-form side strolled to yet another win on their travels thanks to Scott Tanser’s whirlwind opener and Liam Craig’s 58th minute clincher, the lack of fight evident within the home ranks wasn’t lost on their manager who has already told no fewer than six first-team players they are free to leave. “We had four players who made contact with the St Johnstone boys which is not enough,” said McIntyre afterwards.

“If you are seeing players not committed, not seeing that fighting spirit, and seeing people disappear – because clearly that is what happened – then it’s very frustrating.You learn every day and that’s what I saw. Everyone knows we have to get players in and this underlines that fact again. The team clearly needs strengthened in January. It’s as clear as day that’s what has to happen.

“We need to bring a freshness to things and the board know that. They’re not daft.

“We need to get the right types now and I’m very confident I’ll get the backing we need.

“It’s a sore one to take because we had given stronger performances to our punters lately but that just wasn’t good enough.”

St Johnstone arrived buoyed by their Boxing Day win over St Mirren, and were up and running after just 35 seconds. Chris Kane fed the ball wide to Tanser. The Saints full-back cut in before sending a looping cross which caught home keeper Jack Hamilton by surprise and came back off the far post before eventually crossing the line.

The pressure was relentless and only occasionally did Dundee venture out of their own half, one such instance coming in 25 minutes, but Jesse Curran couldn’t get his shot away eight yards from goal.

Saints, though, remained on top with midfielder Matthew Kennedy coming close with a half-volley ten minutes before the interval.

Kennedy was making a habit of getting into dangerous positions and did so twice in quick succession early in the second-half, only to miss the target. But his cross from a short corner caused havoc in the home defence, allowing Craig to bundle the ball home from just a few yards.

Saints could quite easily have enhanced their lead with Kennedy especially giving the home defence multiple problems, with Hamilton having to look lively to prevent further damage, before the abject hosts were greeted with a merited chorus of boos from their own supporters on the final whistle.

Wright, in stark contrast to his opposite number, had nothing but wholesome praise for his players as their domestic roll continues.

“That was as good as I’ve had from any of my teams,” smiled Wright.

“The only thing I can be negative about is that we should probably have had more goals but it was unbelievable stuff all round.

“I thought we were excellent. We got a bit of luck with the first goal but after that we dominated totally.

“The players were relentless, for fully 90 minutes they were at it.

“The quality of their play, the energy and the desire to make things happen really pleased me.

“Jim (McIntyre) has a big job in his hands and I think he knew that when he took it on.

“To be fair, he wasn’t left with much.

“Jim is the best man Dundee could have to get them out of trouble and I would back him to do that because he’s an experienced manager.”