Date: 19 January 2013
Venue: Easter Road
Competition: League - SPL
Dundee emerged from the mid-season break with a much improved performance at Easter Road. A hard working performance gave the Dark Blues a well deserved point. John Baird gave Dundee an early lead, and Leigh Griffiths equalised just after half time. Dundee had by far the better chances and could well have taken all the points.
Barry Smith made only two changes from the New Year match in Perth, but they gave the team a very different look. Strikers Mark Stewart and John Baird came in to replace midfielders O'Donnell and Riley. Both played on the flanks with Jim McAlister moving into central midfield.
The changes seemed to give Dundee more urgency in attack; they took the lead after only seven minutes with a lovely, slick passing move down the left involving all four strikers. Easton and Stewart worked the ball to Milne and Nish who quickly played John BAIRD in to shoot past Williams at his near post.
The Dark Blues could have extended their lead when McAlister cut out a McPake pass and gave Milne the chance to nip past Hanlon and run in on goal, but Williams spread himself to save.
With less of the ball Dundee were looking more dangerous. Nish was fouled just outside the penalty area. Baird's free kick was blocked setting off a prolonged scramble around the Hibs' that ended with Nish chipping wide.
Late in the half Nish pulled down a long clearance from Douglas and set Baird free on the left, but Stewart turned the cut back over from 12 yards. The Hibs fans were growing restless at their side's disjointed performance. They managed only two tame shots in the whole half, both from Doyle and both easy saves for Douglas.
Dundee were good value for their lead at half time, and it was clear that Hibs would have to improve if they were to get anything from the game. However, as the Dundee fans know, the Hibees have a player who can turn a game in an instant. It took Sparky only three minutes of the second half to get his stuttering team back on level terms. Hibs won a free kick 30 yards out and GRIFFITHS curled a beautiful shot over the wall and inside Douglas's left hand post.
The goal gave Hibs a boost and they had their best spell of the match. At last they were pressing, moving and passing effectively, but for all their energy and pressure they failed to create chances from open play.
Dundee weathered the pressure and started to look dangerous again. As in the first half they did far more than Hibs with less of the ball, and created two great chances.
Toshney's long free kick was headed down by Gallagher and Williams saved well from Milne's close range shot. A fine raiding run by Easton opened up the Hibs defence, giving Nish a clear shot, but again Williams saved.
Hibs gradually grew more ragged and desperate. Their moves repeatedly broke down in the final third, where the Dundee defence barely put a foot wrong all day. A home goal seemed most likely to come from a set piece. Hibs did get two more free kicks, but Douglas took the first comfortably from Griffiths and the second from Clancy didn't get past the defensive wall.
Late on Dundee threatened to punish Hibs as the home side pushed forward, but the Dark Blues never managed to exploit the space they created.
The game ended with Dundee looking more comfortable and organised than Hibs, and no-one could argue that Dundee didn't fully deserve their point.
Playing two strikers in the wide midfield positions was a huge gamble by Barry Smith, but it paid off. Dundee offered more threat than in recent games, and more than Hibs did. They did so without leaving the defence exposed, and Hibs failed to create a single good chance in the whole game.
Hibs certainly didn't play well today, but the credit should go to Dundee for imposing themselves on the game and stopping Hibs playing with the fluent style they showed in the first game at Easter Road. However, this wasn't simply a matter of Dundee sitting in for a point and they always looked capable of scoring as they came forward.
Whether or not this point makes any difference in the long run, it was certainly heartening to see Dundee competing effectively and looking dangerous coming forward at a very difficult ground. Barry Smith was pleased when he met the press, and so he should have been.
Hibernian FC 4-4-2
Clancey, Hanlon, McPake, McGivern
Wotherspoon, Deegan (Taiwo 82), Claros, Stevenson (Handling 81)
Unused subs; Murdoch (gk), Maybury, Kuqi, Harris, Horribine
Goals; Griffiths (48)
Bookings; Wotherspoon (dissent)
Dundee FC 4-4-2
Irvine, Toshney, Gallagher, Easton
John Baird, Davidson, McAlister, Stewart
Nish, Milne (Conroy 85)
Unused subs; Alex Baird (gk), Lockwood, McBride, Benedictus, McGregor, Boyle
Goal; Baird (7)
Bookings; Davidson (foul on Claros)
Attendance; 10,386 (509 from Dundee)
Referee; Craig Charleston
Report; James Christie