Date: 21 April 2012
Venue: Dens Park
Competition: League - SFL1
Dundee went down to their sixth home defeat of the season at Dens today, losing 3-0 for the second match running, as a Paul Cairney hat trick gave Partick Thistle a comfortable victory. The previous five defeats were all by a single goal, and usually there was something to be positive about. Today there was nothing. After last week's defeat at Ross County Rab Douglas used the word "rubbish" several time in his interview on DFCTV. If anything I think the reaction to today's performance will be stronger.
At least last week Dundee lost to the best team in the division. Partick played well today, but they are a long way from the top of top of the table. In fact, they are still in the bottom half, but they won today with embarrassing ease.
Barry Smith made four changes from last week. Centre backs McKeown and Benedictus were replaced by McGregor and Weston. McCluskey returned from injury in place of the suspended McBride, and Hyde came in for Milne up front.
On a few occasions Partick threatened to play runners through the Dundee back line, but it never quite came off. They might have had a penalty when Bannigan hurdled an Irvine tackle and got an earful from his manager for dodging the challenge. A good Thistle move through Erskine, Cariney and O'Donnell ended with Douglas saving for a corner.
However, the first half hour was as dull as anything we've seen at Dens this season, with precious little in the way of entertainment. Unfortunately when the match livened up it wasn't any more enjoyable for the Dundee support. Partick had been having marginally the better of a poor game, but Dundee had offered virtually nothing in attack and had looked sleepy in midfield, so it wasn't much of a surprise when the visitors took the lead.
Jamie McCluskey saw a good 20 yard shot pushed round the post by Fox. This looked mildly encouraging, but from the corner Partick broke upfield to score. Mark McGuigan ran clear, but Neil McGregor caught up with him to make a great tackle. Erskine was first onto the loose ball, dragged it clear of Weston and McGregor and switched the ball across goal for CAIRNEY to pass it into the net.
Jamie McCluskey needed treatment late in the first half and was struggling. It was no surprise when Riley replaced him at half time.
Partick could have put the match out of Dundee's reach when they were awarded a penalty early in the second half. McGregor held McGuigan just inside the penalty area as the Partick striker tried to spin past him. Cairney's penalty was too close to Douglas, who saved well.
The Dundee midfield were giving very poor service to the strikers, who in turn were struggling to hold the ball up. Hyde had been doing his best, with little support, but was forced out of the game with a knock after an hour. Riley moved into a central striking role, with Irvine pushing down the right and Benedictus coming on to play right back.
Whatever cohesion Dundee had, it now vanished, and the rejigged team never looked remotely comfortable.
Dundee were caught horribly out of position for the killer second goal. An attack broke down when Nicky Riley tried to shield the ball, but was caught from behind by Robertson, who quickly played the ball forward to find CAIRNEY in a vast amount of space. He ran unchallenged through the middle and calmly lifted the ball over Douglas to score.
Thistle won a second penalty in injury time when Thistle substitute Elliot seemed to push Weston who was going for a cross. McGregor, trying to recover brought down Welsh and received a red card. This time CAIRNEY hammered home the penalty to give Douglas no chance.
This was the worst I've seen Dundee play in a long time. Partick won at a stroll in the end, but were never any better than competent. They were occasionally shaky in defence, but Dundee never looked like punishing them. When the visitors came forward all they had to do was keep running, play simple balls, and wait for the openings to come.
I suspect there will be many harsh words in the Dundee dressing room as I write. The Dee have many players who take a pride in their performances. Today's display was shocking and plain embarrassing.
Dundee FC 4-4-2
Irvine, McGregor, Weston, Lockwood
McCluskey (Riley 45), Fotheringham, O'Donnell, Conroy
Hyde (Benedictus 60), McIntosh
Unused subs; Gibson (gk), McKeown, Chisholm
Bookings; O'Donnell (foul on Cairney), Weston (foul on Cairney)
Sent off; McGregor (denying Welsh a goal scoring opportunity)
Partick Thistle 4-4-2
Balatoni, Robertson, Archibald, Bannigan
O'Donnell, Erskine (Elliot 81), Paton, Welsh
McGuigan (Burns 85), Cairney
Unused subs; Scully (gk), McAteer, Griffin
Goals; Cairney (34, 80, 90 pen)
Bookings; Bannigan (foul on McCluskey), Cairney (confronting Douglas after 3rd goal)
Referee; Kevin Clancy
Report; James Christie