Dundee 1-0 Hamilton: Dee take big step towards safety after narrow win

Dundee goalkeeper Elliott Parish leads the celebrations at full time. Picture: SNS GroupDundee goalkeeper Elliott Parish leads the celebrations at full time. Picture: SNS Group
Dundee goalkeeper Elliott Parish leads the celebrations at full time. Picture: SNS Group
Crunch time. The business end. The point in the season where individual moments can wildly alter the prospects of any one side.

On this occasion it was a late penalty to the visitors. Dougie Imrie against Elliot Parish. A share of the spoils or almost certain safety for Neil McCann’s side.

Imrie struck it poorly, hitting with his heel; Parish got a foot on it before spinning around and gobbling it up.

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As he lay on top of the ball, clutching it for dear life, a huge grin spread over the keeper’s face. He had every right to be happy.

His heroics – if you want to indulge in the positives – look to have kept Dundee in the top flight for another season.

Less than 24 hours after Dundee United booked a place in the semi-finals of the Premiership play-offs, it seems thoroughly unlikely the derby rivals will face each other in a mouthwatering, end-of-season showpiece.

The Dees now lead Partick Thistle in 11th place by six points with two games to play. It would take a sensational set of circumstances to relegate them from here.

Still, in football there is no room for assumption. Not with relegation still a mathematical possibility.

“We have put ourselves in a really good position,” said McCann. “I have told them in there, no over-celebration and, to be fair, they weren’t.

“We are safe from automatic relegation but there is work still to be done. You cannot be too complacent or take anything for granted.”

Dundee went ahead with the first chance of the game. The irrepressible Craig Wighton found space on the wing before flicking in a pass for Kevin Holt advancing from left-back.

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The defender took one touch before dispatching a perfectly arrowed finish into the far corner, giving keeper Gary Woods no chance.

Accies were almost level immediately. Darren Lyon’s cross was helped on its way by Marios Ogkmpoe.

The striker perhaps should have done better, though Cammy Kerr still had to be alert to turn the ball round for a corner with Imrie ready to pounce.

The opening period was decent enough fare with Dundee knocking the ball around impressively, though it was short on goalmouth action.

A Simon Murray header which dropped just the wrong side of the post was the only other incident of note in the half.

Accies moved from a 3-5-2 to a 4-2-3-1 at the break and managed to get a foothold in the match. Rakish Bingham hit the outside of the post from a free-kick before Darian MacKinnon flashed a shot just wide.

The two then combined for Bingham to sting the palms of Parish from a tight angle.

Dundee blew the chance to kill the game off when Kerr got in behind Ross Jenkins. Instead of going for goal or squaring for his arriving team-mates, the full-back took a heavy touch and the opportunity was gone.

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After substitute Antonio Rojano headed wide, Martin Canning rolled the dice again as the Accies boss elected to revert back to 3-5-2 and match Dundee after the hosts had done likewise.

The tinkering almost paid off when Imrie took a quick throw-in and released Ogkmpoe.

The striker was taken out inside the box by a clumsy and ill-judged barge by young centre-back Daniel Jefferies, on as a late sub to try to shore things up.

The 19-year-old was bailed out by a combination of Parish and Imrie. The miss keeps Hamilton in limbo, three ahead of Thistle and five ahead of Ross County.

With a superior goal difference, one win from their final two fixtures will do.

A huge roar greeted the full-time whistle. The Dens Park faithful are now fully confident that, whatever happens in the play-offs, there will be at least one Premiership team in Dundee next season.