Unaccustomed as they are to sitting top of the top flight, this is where Dundee find themselves for a few hours at least. Stranger still was the booing which greeted this achievement.
Dundee manager Paul Hartley was as unimpressed as the fans. “That was unacceptable,” he said. Then, with reference to last season’s tally of 15 drawn games, the most in the league, he said: “These are the games we should be winning.”
The absence of ecstasy at Dens recognised that their position as league leaders will likely be short-lived. There is an acceptance that Dundee are not yet clicking. Hartley later revealed French centre-half Kevin Gomis has signed a one-year deal. The 27 year-old’s last club was Nice.
While there could be few complaints about the industry of either side in a constant downpour, quality was lacking. A 1-1 draw, with both goals traded in four minutes early in the game, was a fair result.
Hamilton might feel slightly aggrieved, since they had a header from Michael Devlin cleared off the line by Nick Ross near the end. They also claimed the goal of the match in Darren Lyon’s 25-yard opener after 13 minutes. Dundee midfielder Mark O’Hara scored an equaliser after 17 minutes.
The Tannoy announcer welcomed the fans to a potential feast of football “under the floodlights”. He was right about the game being played under floodlights, at least. But it was also played beneath leaden, grey skies. It was the sort of night to have one checking the calendar.
Yes, it really was August. And yet, as if in belated tribute to the late, great broadcaster and journalist Dick Donnelly, it was the type of dreich Dundee night so popular in legend.
But the constant rain at least created a slick, fast surface on which to play football. The pitch at Dens, good in any case, was fit for ball players. But it was also fit for mistakes, which accounted for some of what took place.
But not all of it was error strewn. Hamilton edged ahead with an early contender for goal of the season. It was all the more notable for being Lyon’s first for the club. He will rarely strike a ball so sweetly as he did when taking a poor headed clearance from Darren O’Dea on the half volley with his right foot and sending a shot into Scott Bain’s top right hand corner.
But Dundee were back in it just four minutes later through O’Hara, who scored his second goal in two games. There was more than an echo of his first goal for the club against Rangers six days earlier. Again it came from a Danny Williams corner. Again it was scored at the Bob Shankly Stand end. Rather than use his forehead this time, O’Hara steered the ball in with his foot.
Another similarity to his goal v Rangers was the criminal lack of marking at the edge of the six-yard box.
Hamilton perhaps carried the greater goal threat, which wasn’t saying much. Julen Etxabeguren was booked for a late challenge on Louis Longridge on the edge of the box. But Dougie Imrie fired the free-kick over from a good position.
The second half was livelier. Hamilton should have re-gain the lead shortly after the re-start but Darian MacKinnon stubbed the ball wide after a neat lay-off from Alex D’Acol. Dundee responded through Williams, whose shot was parried by Matthews. Dundee brought on striker Yordi Teijsse for James Vincent in a bid to seize the upperhand and they probably should have succeeded. Teijsse himself badly mis-hit a header when in a good position.
But despite a scare when Devlin sent a header towards goal that Ross blocked on the line, Dundee gained the point – and are now sitting equal top. Not that you’d know it from the reaction from the fans – or their manager.