The Dark Blues grafted their way to an excellent 1-1 draw at Tynecastle this afternoon. After John Souttar gave Hearts a deserved half time lead the Dee dug deep to stay in the game and were rewarded with substitute Jason Cummings’ late goal. Hearts will be furious that they failed to turn their dominance into goals and tie the game up long before the equaliser. The Dark Blues were marvellous in defence, standing up impressively to the Jambo’s onslaught. With three Dee strikers on the pitch there was always the hope that the Dee might nick a goal if a chance came along and Jason Cummings’ goal in front of the travelling support was met with rapturous delight.
The Dark Blues made only one change from the team that beat Aberdeen. Max Anderson kept his place after coming on as a substitute for Shaun Byrne, whose injury keeps him on the sidelines. Hearts were unchanged from their draw at Ibrox.
The Jam Tarts started briskly and looked dangerous from the kick off. John Souttar’s long range passing was a prominent feature of the opening stages. The central defender started several attacks with quick and accurate long passes out to the flanks. The Dark Blues kept their shape and concentration well to hold off Hearts, but were able to offer little threat in attack.
A Cammy Devlin pass opened up the Dundee defence but Beni Bangingime got the ball stuck between his feet and the chance was lost. Barrie McKay pulled a cross back from the byline for Ben Woodburn, whose shot was deflected wide for a corner. When the corner flew into the packed goalmouth Liam Boyce glanced his header against the crossbar and Craig Halkett’s looping follow-up header was headed over the bar from the goalline by local favourite Leigh Griffiths.
After 36 minutes Hearts’ pressure paid off. Charlie Adam’s pass out of defence was blocked with the ball rebounding to Boyce. Dundee were never able to recover as the ball pinged around in the penalty area. It looked as if the Dark Blues might escape but Ben Woodburn played the ball back to SOUTTAR 22 yards from goal. The central defender passed a beautifully precise and unstoppable shot into Adam Legzdin’s top right hand corner.
Dundee might have fallen further behind before half time when Lee Ashcroft lost the ball to Boyce, but Barrie McKay’s shot was blocked by desperate defending.
The second half almost started badly for the Dee when they lost the ball in midfield and it took a terrific tackle by Lee Ashcroft to stop Boyce scoring.
The game underwent a scrappy phase in which Hearts couldn’t mount effective attacks and that gave Dundee an opportunity to regain their composure. The respite did not last for long, and Hearts were soon attacking once again with menace.
Danny Mullen came on for Luke McCowan and had the ball in the net from a free kick. The linesman’s flag was quickly up to stop any celebrations. It was the third time that Dundee had worked a clever free kick only to be foiled by a flag for offside.
After an hour Dundee had a huge escape when Adam lost the ball. Legzdins saved well from Michael Smith’s fierce shot and Gary Mackay-Steven shot against the post. A second goal might well have taken the game beyond Dundee but there were no more gifts from the resolute Dark Blues.
Jason Cummings came on for Paul McMullan and Cillian Sheridan replaced Leigh Griffiths. Dundee’s three strikers playing high up the park offered hope that an equaliser might arrive, if only a chance came along.
Sheridan had a go with a ferocious shot from 18 yards that Craig Gordon was happy to parry to safety. It had always seemed likely that a set piece would be Dundee’s most promising route to an equaliser, and so it proved.
After 83 minutes Cammy Kerr took a throw on the right, near the corner flag. He hurled it into the goalmouth and Jason CUMMINGS’ glancing header sent the ball sailing into the net. The ecstatic away support erupted as the players celebrated in front of them.
There were seven minutes of normal time left and a further seven minutes of injury time. Predictably Hearts threw everything at Dundee, and equally predictably with this group of players the Dee handled everything with steely determination. There were a couple of worrying scrambles, but Legzdins was not called upon to make any real saves. The final whistle was greeted with delight by the travelling Dees.
It was not a pretty performance, and Dundee did not offer much in the way of silky football. However, what was so pleasing was the attitude of the players who gave everything to make sure the Dark Blues took something from this match. Many teams would have rolled over against an impressive Hearts, but that wasn’t the Dundee way today. For all that commitment, relentless concentration and sheer hard graft the Dee deserved their point.
Souttar, Halkett, Kingsley
Smith, Bangingime, Devlin, Cochrane
McKay (Ginnell7 76), Woodburn (Mackay-Steven at half time)
Boyce (Gnanduillet 59)
Unused subs: Stewart (gk), Haring, Moore, Halliday.
Goal: Souttar (36).
Booked: Halkett (foul on Griffiths), Woodburn (foul on Marshall), .
Dundee FC 4-3-3
Kerr, Ashcroft, Sweeney, Marshall
McGhee, Anderson, Adam (c)
McMullan (Cummings 61), Griffiths (Sheridan 68), McCowan (Mullen 61)
Unused subs: Lawlor (gk), Fontaine, McGowan, Elliott.
Goal: Cummings (83).
Booked: Sweeney (foul on Boyce), McGhee (foul on Cochrane), Adam (foul on Kingsley), Mulllen (foul on Devlin).
Referee: Gavin Duncan. Assistants: Graeme Leslie, Gordon Crawford. Fourth Official: Bobby Madden.
Report: James Christie.