Dundee host Ross County this weekend in the Ladbrokes Premiership and so we take a look at a player who played for both clubs, striker Steven Craig.
Craig was born in Blackburn, West Lothian on February 5th 1981 and came from good footballing stock as his father Joe had won the Scottish Cup with Celtic and scored on his one international appearance for Scotland.
Craig began his career as a youth player at Raith Rovers and after leaving the club in 2000, played one match for Junior club Broxburn Athletic. He then signed his first professional contract at Scottish First Division club Falkirk, signing initially for three months, but after scoring on his debut against Livingston on September 30th 2000, he was given a three-year contract.
In January 2003, Craig moved to Motherwell and scored his first goal a month later in a 2–1 win against Dunfermline Athletic but just four months later, along with Fir Park team-mate Derek Adams, signed a pre-contract with Aberdeen to join the club on 1 June 2004.
He made his Aberdeen debut on the opening day of the season against Rangers and later that month scored his first Dons goal against Berwick Rangers before four days later, scoring twice against Livingston in a 2–0 win. These turned out to be his only goals for the club as he fell out of favour with manager Jimmy Calderwood and after four substitute appearances at the start of the 2005/06 season, was allowed to join newly relegated Dundee for the rest of the campaign.
Craig made his Dark Blue debut at Perth on September 17th and got off to the perfect start when he scored after just ten minutes against St Johnstone in the 1-1 draw.
Craig would strike up a partnership with Simon Lynch and started by scoring three goals in his first six games and by the end of the season had netted seven times in 23 appearances.
In a Scottish Cup quarter-final replay with Hamilton at Dens, Craig came off the bench and scored the winner to send Dundee to a semi-final at Hampden. After failing to get off the bench in the 0-0 draw at New Douglas Park, Craig came on just after Juanjo had pulled a goal back for Accies to make it 2-1 and when Pat Keogh made it 2-2 in front of the live SKY Sports TV audience with eight minutes left, the tie went into extra time.
Having thrown away a two goal lead, Dundee dusted themselves down and within a minute of the restart were back in front thanks to Steven Craig. If there was a suspicion of offside about the Accies equaliser, there was certainly a decent shout for handball in the lead-up to Dundee’s winner for as Craig chested the ball down, it bounced off his wrist before he sidestepped McLaughlin to fire an unstoppable shot high past McEwan.
Craig’s goal sent Dundee into a Hampden semi-final with Gretna and he started again on the bench on a desperately disappointing day. Craig came on just after the hour and by then Dundee were 2-0 down. Gretna would score a third late on to send them to the final and into the UEFA Cup and in 2010 Craig would reflect in the Daily Record how much that defeat hurt when he reached the semis again with Ross County.
“I lost a semi-final to Gretna when I was with Dundee – that was the lowest day of my career. We crashed 3-0 and it was horrible. I remember thinking I would never have a better chance to get to a cup final but we blew it big time. No disrespect to Gretna but to lose the way we did was crushing. To say I was pig sick would be an understatement.”
That result more or less cost manager Alan Kernghan his job and Barry Smith and Bobby Mann would take over for the last two games and Craig scored a double for the caretaker team in a 3-1 win away at Queen of the South in the last game of the season.
That would be Craig’s last game for The Dee and in the summer he was released by Aberdeen and signed for newly relegated Livingston. He stayed at Almondvale for two seasons, scoring 17 times in 66 appearances and in the summer of 2008 signed for newly promoted Ross County.
Craig made his Staggies debut at home to Dundee on the first day of the season but it was an unhappy start to his career in Dingwall as the Dark Blues returned home with a 2-1 win thanks to goals from Mickael Antoine-Curier and Eric Paton.
However Craig stayed at Victoria Park for four years and had an enjoyable spell, winning the Challenge Cup in November 2010 and the First Division in 2012 and reached the Scottish Cup Final in May 2010.
In the semi-final against Celtic, Craig wrote himself into Ross County folklore when he scored the opener in a famous 2-0 win over Celtic at Hampden in one of the biggest shocks in Scottish Cup history.
Craig would score 29 times in 118 appearances for Ross County before leaving for Partick Thistle on loan in August 2012 and after joining permanently in January, won his second First Division title in a row.
Craig joined Wycombe Wanderers in the summer and then Dumbarton after two years at Adams Park and finished last season with Forfar after signing for The Loons in February 2016.
Thirty-six year old Craig is still going strong at National League North side Worcester City and also had a one month loan spell with Stafford Rangers in January.
Dundee FC Appearances, Goals:
League: 17 + 3 subs, 6 goals
Scottish Cup: 3 subs, 1 goal
Totals: 23, 7 goals