An impressively solid and mature performance from the Dark Blues earned a point from a 0-0 draw away to Hibs this afternoon. Dundee were often under fierce pressure, but defended superbly and always looked capable of snatching a winner when they broke forward. Keeper Trevor Carson was the Dee’s standout performer, but every player deserves credit for their performance which brought a well earned, and hard fought, point.
The Dark Blues made four changes to the team that drew with Kilmarnock. Jordan McGhee and Scott Tiffoney were injured, Josh Mulligan was suspended, and Zach Robinson was on the bench. Antonio Portales, Cammy Kerr, Lyall Cameron and Zak Rudden came into the starting eleven.
Dundee started promisingly and were the better side in the first 15 minutes. The Dee put together some pleasing passing moves against a Hibs team that was slow to get into gear.
Zak Rudden had the first real goal attempt with a powerful 10 yard header from Luke McCowan’s cross, but David Marshall saved well. In the Dee’s next attack Will Fish’s desperate clearance on the edge of the six yard box struck Amadou Bakayoko and flew over the bar.
After that sleepy opening Hibs woke up and started to put Dundee under pressure. Hibs movement and passing allowed them to find space in the Dee half. That resulted in little direct danger from open play. However, Hibs won a series of set pieces from which they often threatened to score.
Lewis Miller’s long throw was nodded on by Paul Hanlon and it took a terrific instinctive save by Trevor Carson to keep out Adam Le Fondre’s close range header.
Hanlon headed over at the back post from Martin Boyle’s corner, and a Boyle free kick was dealt with messily by the Dee defence for once, resulting in a scramble in front of goal.
The Dark Blues managed fewer attacks in the last 30 minutes of the first half than in the opening 15, but moved the ball around well when they did get forward.
Hibs might not have created great danger in open play, but that changed after half time. The home side moved the ball quicker and Dundee were put under relentless pressure. However, the Dee defence didn’t put a foot wrong when Hibs’ attacking got very serious in the second half.
Yoann and Boyle’s skill and pace were a constant threat but the Dee handled both well. A fierce Yoann cutback struck a defender and flew over the bar. Carson saved from a low Boyle shot in a slick Hibs attack. Antonio Portales put in a great block on a Yoann shot as Hibs cranked up the pressure. Carson had to make another fine, reflex save from Le Fondre’s backheel from a corner.
The Dark Blues did have the occasional break in which they looked very dangerous. Owen Beck was often the instigator, sprinting forward into space and creating openings for his teammates. He launched one smart move, which ended with McCowan feeding Rudden who shot across goal and narrowly wide.
Midway through the second half Hibs had what looked like a plausible penalty claim when Yoann hit the ground from Beck’s challenge, but it wasn’t enough to persuade referee John Beaton or the VAR team.
In the later stages Dundee managed to give the defence a wee breather now and again by pinning Hibs back for a few minutes at a time. But every time Hibs got the ball back they flew at the Dark Blues and it was a matter of all hands to the pumps to stem the Hibee flood.
Will Fish header over from a Hibs corner, and Beck made a superb last man tackle to stop Yoann. Carson then saved Fish’s glancing header from a long throw. Hibs had a couple of late half chances, but fluffed both. Miller headed weakly wide from a Boyle cross, then Boyle mishit his effort from Yoann’s cutback.
It was the Dark Blues who came closest to a late winner. McCowan showed skill and determination to break clear from defence and raced down the right as Hibs struggled to keep up. He passed inside to substitute Ryan Howley who teed up Beck to hit a ferocious shot from 12 yards that was superbly saved by David Marshall.
The Dark Blues saw out the three minutes of injury time competently and thoroughly deserved the prolonged and delighted applause from the large travelling support at the final whistle. There was plenty for Dundee supporters to enjoy today on their day out in Edinburgh.
The game was far more entertaining than most goalless draws. It was often very open, until the Dee slammed the door shut on Hibs’ attacks once they reached the penalty area.
This was a very grown-up Dark Blue performance. It didn’t look remotely like a team new to the Premiership. The players were meticulously prepared, well organised on the park, and they carried out the game plan perfectly. The team, and the individual players, looked very much at home at this level. It was hard work, but Dundee fully deserved their point, working furiously hard, showing great resilience, and playing some neat football.
The defence will take plenty of plaudits today. They were all excellent, but Trevor Carson and Antonio Portales, playing his first full match in the Premiership, deserved special mention. Owen Beck, of course, produced his usual routinely excellent performance.
The team should take great confidence from games like this, going to a big club like Hibs, playing well, and taking a point with a precious clean sheet. This was a very big point for the Dee.
Hibernian FC 4-4-2
Miller, Fish, Hanlon (c), Stevenson (Obita 61)
Boyle, Jeggo, Newell, Youan
Vente (Doidge 61), Le Fondre (Jair 71)
Unused subs: Boruc (gk), Levitt, Delferrière, Campbell, Rocky, Whittaker.
Booked: Obita (retaliation following foul by Kerr).
Dundee FC 3-5-2
Portales, Shaughnessy (c), Lamie
Kerr, Cameron (Howley 87), Boateng, McCowan, Beck
Rudden (Robertson 82), Bakayoko
Unused substitutes: Legzdins (gk), Pineda, Ashcroft, Robinson, Donnelly, Sylla, Lewis.
Booked: Lamie (foul on Boyle), Beck (foul on Boyle), Kerr (foul on Obita).
Referee: John Beaton. Assistants: Graham McNeillie, Colin Drummond. Fourth Official: Lloyd Wilson. VAR: Nick Walsh. Assistant VAR: Gary Hilland.
Report: James Christie.