The Dark Blues left the capital without a point after a 2-0 defeat by Hearts at Tynecastle. Callum Paterson scored the Jam Tarts’ first midway through the second half and Bjorn Johnsen secured the win with a goal at the death. Dundee will reflect sadly on their luck after hitting the woodwork four times before Hearts took the lead.
Dundee made three changes. Darren O’Dea and Nicky Low were injured and Cammy Kerr started on the bench. Kosta Gadzhalov, James Vincent and Tom Hateley came into the starting eleven. Hearts made two changes, bringing in Alim Ozturk and Don Cowie in place of Faycal Rherras and Sam Nicholson.
Faissal El Bakhatoui almost burst clean through in the first minute, but was denied by an Ozturk tackle at the expense of a corner. The hosts were quickly into their stride, however, and put the Dark Blue defence under serious pressure in the first 10 minutes. Jamie Walker got in the way of a Kevin Gomis clearance and the ball rebounded to Connor Sammon whose shot was blocked by Scott Bain. Hearts’ right back Callum Paterson was always keen to get forward and he shot just wide of Bain’s near post after cutting in from the right. After 10 minutes Don Cowie’s curling shot was heading for the top corner till Tony Watt’s glancing header sent the ball over the bar.
Dundee fought their way back into the match and caused Hearts problems with the running of Yordi Teijsse and Faissal El Bakhtaoui, who was showing some neat touches on the ball. After El Bakhtaoui was fouled just outside the penalty area Tom Hateley struck the top of the crossbar with his free kick.
On the half hour mark Dundee escaped in a goalmouth scramble which ended with Watt’s shot striking Walker. At the other end Hearts’ defence got into a mess following a corner and Kosta Gadzhalov’s 25 yard rocket was bravely turned over the bar by John Souttar with his head. The Dee’s best spell of the first half followed, with the midfield holding the ball well and keeping Hearts under pressure for a spell. However, Scott Bain had to be at his best to keep out Aranud Djoum’s 18 yard shot, then beat away Callum Paterson’s header from the corner. The fist half action ended with Gadzhalov heading over from a Hateley corner.
If Hearts had the best of the first half it was certainly Dundee who started the stronger side after the break. Terrific persistence by Teijsse kept Hearts’ defence under pressure and the ball broke to Hateley who rifled in a swerving ahot from 18 yards only to see the ball beat Hamilton and come back off the post. El Bakhatoui brought a good save from 20 yards out of Jack Hamilton after drifting deep to pick up the ball in space and running at the defence. When the resulting corner came over Gadzhalov’s powerful header crashed against the crossbar.
For the next few minutes play raced from end to end and Scott Bain saved well from Walker after the Hearts’ winger cut in from the left. Teijsse passed up a great chance after muscling Rossi off the ball, but pulled his shot wide from 15 yards with a clear sight of goal. The Dark Blues had a scare when Gadzhalov miscued a clearance in his penalty area and the ball struck his hand, but the referee Mr Clancy decided, correctly, that it was an accident.
Dundee struck the post for the fouth time when Teijsse turned neatly and hit a low shot against the bottom of Hamilton’s post from the edge of the penalty area. Hearts were still dangerous when they got the chance to attack, and Danny Williams made a goal saving block from Djoum in a goalmouth stramash. Teijsse’s eager pressing again won the ball deep in Hearts’ half and Hateley’s hard, low cross flew across goal and was deflected wide for a corner.
Hearts finally broke the deadlock after 68 minutse with a simple set piece goal. Substitute Robbie Muirhead’s free kick delivery from the left was beautifully flighted for Callum PATERSON to rise and head across Bain and into the top corner. The goal rocked Dundee and it took them a few minutes to get back into their flow.
Paul Hartley sent on Michael Duffy and Cammy Kerr to replace James Vincent and Tom Hateley, then with five minutes left replaced Gadzhalov with Rory Loy.
A fine Djoum pass sent Walker to the byline but Kevin Holt cut out his cross. Igor Rossi headed over from the corner. Djoum had a couple of efforts, the first a 22 yard shot blasted straight into Bain’s midriff. He then wriggled his way into the penalty area but Holt blocked his shot. From the corner Bain pulled off a marvellous save at point blank range from substitute Bjorn Johnsen. Hearts had an escape themselves following a corner when Yordi Teijsse was free 10 yards out, but he powered his header just wide.
After 89 minutes Hearts put the game out of Dundee’s reach when JOHNSEN turned in Walker’s cutback at the near post. In injury time Rory Loy was denied a consolation goal that would have been the least the Dee deserved, but Hamilton saved his angled drive superbly.
This defeat leave the Dark Blues at the foot of the table, but if they continue to play like this they will surely climb the table. The team was hard working, kept their shape, and created some good chances. All that was missing was a clinical finish or a stroke of luck. Certainly the players have no need to be despondent after their performances today. Dundee were competitive all over the pitch, and gave Hearts a very hard match with the result in doubt until the 89th minute.
Heart of Midlothian FC 4-4-2
Paterson, Ozturk, Souttar, Rossi
Djoum, Cowie (Buaben 86), Kitchen, Walker
Sammon (Johnsen 72), Watt (Muirhead 56)
Unused subs: Noring (gk), Oshaniwa, Nowak, Currie.
Goals: Paterson (68), Johnsen (89).
Booked: Ozturk (foul on El Bakhataoui),
Dundee FC 3-5-2
Gomis, Gadzhalov (Loy 85), Holt
Hateley (Kerr 76, McGowan, Vincent (Duffy 76), O’Hara, Williams
El Bakhtaoui, Teijsse
Unused subs: Gourlay (gk), Etxabeguren, Ross, Wighton.
Booked: McGowan (foul on Rossi).
Attendance: 16,512 (734 Dundee supporters).
Referee: Kevin Clancy. Assistants: Brian Templeton, Graham McNeillie. Fourth official: Alan Newlands.
Report: James Christie.