These are truly desperate times for Dundee. Even with new signing Kenny Miller swelling their ranks to try and spark a much-needed domestic revival, Neil McCann’s side succumbed to yet another dismal defeat to leave them still propping up the rest of the table.
If there were any lingering doubts about the size of task facing them to climb off the foot of the Premiership, these were utterly dispelled by the manner of this latest capitulation in full view of an increasingly irritated home support.
Before kick-off the Dundee fans were coming to terms with the news that centre-half Steven Caulker had triggered a release clause in his contract and left the club. Afterwards they were left digesting a fourth straight league loss as Motherwell simply strolled to their first Premiership win of the new campaign courtesy of goals in the second-half from Danny Johnson, Gael Bigirimana, and Allan Campbell, making Benjamin Kallman’s 71st-minute header for the hosts all but meaningless.
It could perhaps be viewed as something of a relief they don’t have another match for a fortnight due to the upcoming international break, but on their return they’ll have to somehow negotiate what already looks like a daunting trip to face Steven Gerrard’s Rangers at Ibrox, although their manager is remaining as upbeat as possible under the trying circumstances.
“It’s tough for us just now,” admitted McCann afterwards. “If we could get the first goal in games it would be so different, but this is sore to take.
“I see enough in the dressing-room to turn things round and hopefully you’ll start to see us move upwards.”
Miller, the former Scotland international, started the game alongside Finnish team-mate Kallman after his move to Dens Park earlier in the week, aimed at solving their goal-scoring woes which have afflicted them of late.
Dundee’s supporters couldn’t stomach the prospect of losing at home again, but there was little about their play to suggest they could end that sequence and Miller was practically starved of any genuine service for the entire first-half.
Buoyed by their 3-3 draw with Rangers the previous week, Motherwell carried a menace which the hosts sadly lacked.
The visitors ought to have taken the lead through Curtis Main just before the half-hour mark.
Main appeared all set to at least test Jack Hamilton, the Dundee keeper, from Johnson’s pass but instead he scuffed his shot wide of the target with the goal at his mercy.
The second-half pattern stayed much the same with Motherwell on top, so it was no surprise to see them forge ahead in 56 minutes in the most simple fashion.
Substitute Elliot Frear’s cross from the left was missed by Genseric Kusunga, Dundee’s Angolan defender, who slipped at the vital moment inside the box.
Summmer signing Johnson was there to take advantage, enjoying a touch before smashing a left-foot show low into Hamilton’s far corner, showing his opposition strikers the way to goal.
Motherwell doubled their lead in 68 minutes. Substitute Calvin Miller gave away a foul, and Bigirimana’s free-kick from 25-yards was deflected off the Dundee defensive wall and beyond Hamilton who was helpless as he watched it nestle in his far top corner.
Miller redeemed himself slightly by supplying the corner for Kallman to head home, but it mattered little with Campbell striking the killer third four minutes from time, and signalling further dejection among the home followers.
“I think the first-half was probably the best we’ve played since I came to the club 18 months ago,” smiled Stephen Robinson, the Fir Park manager, afterwards. “We don’t often get credit for knocking the ball around but we did that so well.
“Dundee are a good side so we knew we would have to come here and play well to get this reward. I’m genuinely proud of all the lads for their efforts.”