Dundee 3-0 Saints

Saturday 31st December

St. Johnstone left Dens Park pointless on Hogmanay as Dundee ran out comfortable 3-0 winners in the Tayside derby on Saturday afternoon.

First half strikes from Faissal El Bakhtaoui and Kostadin Gadzhalov gave the Dark Blues a 2-0 half time lead before a Steven Anderson own goal on 57 minutes finished off the scoring on a miserable afternoon for the Perth men.

Despite not being the result Saints would have hoped for to end 2016, Tommy Wright's men go into the New Year five points clear in 5th place.

Due to the winter break, St. Johnstone are next in action on Saturday 21st December at home to Stenhousemuir in the Scottish Cup.

MATCH REPORT

For the last day of 2016 Saints made the short trip to The City of Discovery for a local derby against Dundee. Tommy Wright made three changes to the side that started Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Rangers as Liam Craig, Danny Swanson and Murray Davidson, who missed the Rangers match due to suspension, came into the side to replace Chris Millar, David Wotherspoon and Graham Cummins who all dropped to the bench. Dundee manager Paul Hartley made two changes to the side that started Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat at Partick Thistle as Julen Etxabeguren and Mark O’Hara came in for James Vincent and Darren O’Dea.

Saints got the match underway shooting towards the Bob Shankly Stand that housed the 1,523 travelling Saints fans and they created their first chance of the match in the first minute as an inviting Steven MacLean cross into the Dundee box was cleared by Kevin Holt.

Dundee created a chance on 14 minutes as Faissal El Bakhtaoui saw his effort from 25 yards saved by Clark. Then a minute later the home side took the lead as Paul McGowan advanced with the ball before sending it out wide to the right to Marcus Haber. The former Saints striker then delivered a good cross into the Saints box and El Bakhtaoui nipped in front of Brian Easton to knock the ball past Zander Clark.

Saints were awarded a free kick on 23 minutes after Danny Swanson was fouled by Cameron Kerr. It had looked like Liam Craig was going to take the free kick however, it was taken by Blair Alston whose effort hit the crossbar.

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2 minutes later Dundee created a chance however, Tom Hateley blasted well over.

The action then very quickly switched to the other end as a Saints corner was only cleared as far as Richard Foster who delivered a great ball into the box which picked out Murray Davidson and the diving header from the Saints midfielder went inches’ over.

With 10 minutes of the first half remaining Swanson setup Davidson who unleashed a long-range effort at goal which was straight at Scott Bain.

Dundee doubled their lead on 42 minutes as a McGowan ball into the box was chested down by Haber, Kostadin Gadzhalov then let the ball run before firing it into the roof of the net from about 8 yards.

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Saints made a change at the start of the second half as Chris Kane was introduced into the action replacing Liam Craig.

On 49 minutes, good build up play by Saints saw a Brain Easton cross deflected for a corner which was taken by Alston and his ball into the box found Paul Paton whose strike was deflected to Kane and the Saints striker had a shot from close range which was saved by Bain. Then on 52 minutes some more good play by Saints saw the ball eventually fall to Davidson and he sent an inviting ball across the face of the Dundee goal however, there was no takers as the home side cleared their lines.

Dundee made it three on 57 minutes’ as a Hateley cross was turned into his own net by Steven Anderson.

Saints made their second change of the afternoon just after the hour mark as David Wotherspoon came on for Paul Paton. The Saints midfielder almost had an immediate impact as he squared his free kick to Swanson who had a shot at goal which was turned behind for a corner by Bain.

On 73 minutes El Bakhtaoui unleashed an angled 25-yard effort which was well palmed away by Clark. The home side were then appealing for a penalty barely a minute later as Craig Wighton went down in the box following a challenge by Anderson but referee Don Robertson waved play on.

Saints continued to press although chances in front of goal were few and far between as Dundee closed them down well. On 83 minutes a Swanson corner found the head of Easton however, the Saints left back could get his effort on target.

A slick move by Dundee with 5 minutes remaining saw Hateley find McGowan, after Haber had dummied, however, the Dundee captain blasted over.

Overall, it was not a good day at the office for Saints.

Man of the Match: The Saints fans

Dundee: Bain, Holt, Etxabeguren, Hateley, O’Hara (Ross 74), McGowan, El Bakhtaoui (Williams 88), Haber, Gadzhalov, Kerr, Wighton Unused Substitutes: Mitchell (GK), Loy, Duffy, Curran, Waddell Booked: Kerr Scorers: El Bakhtaoui (15), Gadzhalov (42), Anderson OG (57)

Saints: Clark, Alston, Anderson, Davidson, MacLean (Cummins 71), Swanson, Shaughnessy, Paton (Wotherspoon 61), Foster, Easton, Craig (Kane 45) Unused Substitutes: Mannus (GK), Scobbie, Millar, Watson Booked: Paton, Swanson

Referee: Don Robertson Attendance: 6,492

Match Report by Daryl Scott