Dundee had to settle for a point from a scrappy goalless draw at home to Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Both sides tried hard in warm and humid conditions but neither could do enough to deserve three points in a game that offered little to thrill the fans. The Dark Blues had a slight edge for most of the match but the visitors might have sneaked victory at the end as Dundee went for all out attack with their substitutions.
The Dark Blues made two changes from the game against Aberdeen. Paul McGowan replaced Jamie Ness, who was ill, and Kane Hemmings returned in the place of Josh Todd, who was on the bench. New loan signing Josh McPake was named as a substitute.
The match got off to a sluggish start with Dundee not settling into a smooth rhythm and Inverness building their moves too slowly to trouble the Dee. Aaron Doran managed the first shot, after eight minutes, and Jack Hamilton parried his 25 yard effort to safety.
Mark Ridgers, Caley Thistle’s keeper also did well to deal with Dundee’s first effort, getting down by his post to take Danny Johnson’s 20 yard volley at the end of a patient passing move.
Dundee gradually improved and started to step up pressure on the away goal, without ever dominating the game. The ball broke to Jordon Forster after a Dee free kick and he showed nimble footwork to turn and cross. Inverness scrambled the ball clear and Paul McGowan curled a shot over the bar from long range. Declan McDaid had a go with a free kick from 30 yards and Ridgers was happy to touch it over the crossbar.
After sitting back for a while Caley Thistle emerged from their shell and came close to a freakish opener. A low, mishit corner by James Keatings struck Shaun Byrne and Carl Tremarco, bouncing off the outside of the near post.
Half time came with Dundee on the attack, but still unable to find top gear consistently.
Keatings went close from 20 yards at the start of the second half when the ball broke to him. After that neither side could do enough to trouble the goalkeepers for a long spell.
James McPake made all three substitutions, sending on Josh Todd for Paul McGowan, then Josh McPake for Danny Johnson and Andrew Nelson for Finlay Robertson. The changes left Dundee short in midfield and they struggled to give the forwards adequate service.
In a messy game a set piece looked the most likely way that someone would break through. Ridgers was slightly fortunate when he was caught in no man’s land at a free kick, but he managed to react to keep out Forster’s header. Kane Hemmings then headed over from a McDaid free kick.
At the other end Jamie McCart glanced a header wide from a corner as Inverness grew more ambitious, realising they could win the game. In injury time substitute Nikolay Todorov headed over from a rare half chance in open play.
There was no arguing with a draw that was fair to both teams. Dundee couldn’t do enough to prise open the Inverness defence and couldn’t summon up the inspiration they needed. Josh McPake was lively when he came on and showed some of the promise he clearly has. This game was similar in many respects to the last game against Ayr. On that occasion Dundee were able to dig out a win against determined defending but today they fell short. The players will have to get used to matches like this and find ways to break down packed defences.
Dundee FC 4-4-2
Kerr, McGhee, Forster, Marshall
McGowan (c) (Todd 53), Robertson (Nelson 67), Byrne, McDaid
Johnson (McPake 60), Hemmings
Unused subs: Ferrie (gk), Meekings, Moore, Anderson.
Booked: Robertson (foul on Walsh), Forster (foul on Rooney).
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 4-4-1-1 (from cup game)
Rooney, Donaldson, McCart, Tremarco (c)
Doran, Carson, Vincent, Walsh (Todorov 84)
Keatings (MacGregor 70)
Storey (White 70)
Unused substitutes: MacKay (gk), Welsh, McHattie, Harper.
Booked: Donaldson (foul on Byrne), Storey (dissent).
Referee: David Munro. Assistants: Stuart Stevenson, Colin McAlpine.
Report: James Christie.