Dundee went down to a 2-1 defeat at Livingston in the final game of the season. Josh Mulligan headed the Dee into the lead early in the second half. The Dark Blues were well placed to go on and take the points after dominating the opening hour. However, Livingston stepped up their game after falling behind and the Dark Blues could not hold on. Andrew Shinne and Alan Forrest scored the goals to complete Livingston’s comeback.
The Dark Blues’ starting eleven was unchanged from the team that beat Hibs on Tuesday night. Livingston made no fewer than nine changes from the team that drew with St Mirren.
Livingston were hardly in the Dee half in the first 10 minutes as Dundee started on top and went close twice in the opening minutes. Paul McMullan burst through the middle and only a fine save by Max Stryjek stopped the Dee taking leadd. From the corner Cammy Kerr headed down for Max Anderson to turn and shoot against the post.
Ryan Sweeney headed over from another corner as the Dee continued to push for the opening goal.
A sloppy Livingston team gradually came back into the game. They were capable of passing their way through the Dee defence but too often they gave the ball away before reaching the final third.
Dundee lost concentration at a throw in and allowed Craig Sibbald space to shoot narrowly wide from the edge of the penalty area.
A quick Dee break almost brought a goal thanks to some pleasing control and vision from Zak Rudden. He turned Fitzwater and sent McMullen clear with a crossfield pass. Again Stryjek denied McMullen, turning the rising shot away superbly.
Livingston went close themselves late in the half when Adam Lewis swapped passes with Cristian Montano and Sharp tipped his shot over the bar.
Livingston started the second half with greater purpose than they showed in a slack first half. Montano volleyed wide after the Dee defence failed to clear a corner. Sharp blocked a Fitzwater header from a corner and Soto scooped the rebound over the bar.
The Dark Blues rode that spell of pressure and began to attack purposefully once again. Luke McCowan had come on for Paul McMullen at the start of the second half and he almost had a tap in after Niall McGinn sent Jordan Marshall to the byline, but he couldn’t connect with the fierce low ball across goal.
Dundee soon had the lead they deserved after 59 minutes. This time it was Rudden who played Marshall into space on the left. Marshall went for a high, flighted cross and Josh MULLIGAN headed firmly home at the far post.
The goal finally sparked Livingston into serious action. They made three substitutions before the game restarted and were immediately a different proposition.
Odin Bailey curled a 20 yard shot wide and Fitzwater missed with a free header at a corner. The Dark Blues’ defence were not convincing at set pieces and a Livingston corner produced the equaliser after 77 minutes. Fitzwater’s header was blocked on the line but Alan Forrest’s follow up was turned into the net by Andrew Shinnie.
Seven minutes later Livingstone had the winner. Substitute Charlie Adam lost the ball trying to set up an attack. Bailey took advantage, ran on, and found Alan FORREST in space to score with a well placed shot from 16 yards.
Dundee might have grabbed a late equaliser for the point they deserved. Sweeney headed over at a corner. McCowan’s snapshot from a Danny Mullen pass was turned over by Gary Maley, the substitute keeper who had been sent on as a crowd pleasing gesture. In injury time Kerr headed down at a corner, but Mullen couldn’t get a touch in front of goal.
The game was all too typical of the Dark Blues’ season. There was a lot of promising attacking and pleasing football, but the Dee did not get the goals they needed while they were on top. When the opposition got back into the game the Dee did not hold out and went down to the sort of narrow defeat that has become all too familiar.
On the positive side there were plenty of good moments from the younger Dundee players. Anderson and Mulligan had fine games in midfield and Rudden led the line effectively. Whoever the new manager is he will have promising material to work with in the Championship.
Stryjek (Maley 74)
McMillan (Devlin 59), Fitzwater (c), Boyes, Lewis
Bailey, Sibbald (Pittman 67), Montano (Forrest 59)
Soto (Nouble 59)
Goals: Shinne (77), Forrest 84).
Booked: Montano (simulation).
Dundee FC 4-3-2-1
Kerr, McGhee (c), Sweeney, Marshall (Daley-Campbell 75)
Mulligan, Byrne, Anderson (Adam 75)
McMullan (McCowan at half time), McGinn
Rudden (Mullen 63)
Unused subs: Lawlor (gk), Fontaine, Chapman, McCowan, Robertson.
Booked: Mulligan (foul on Bailey), Marshall (foul on Sibbald).
Referee: John Beaton. Assistants: Graeme Stewart, Stuart Stevenson. Fourth Official: Barry Cook.
Report: James Christie.