Dundee signed off at the end of an unhappy season with a 3-2 defeat at home to St Mirren. Cammy Kerr gave the Dee an early lead but lost Darren O’Dea to a red card after 20 minutes. Substitute Cody Cooke put the Buddies ahead with two quick goals at the start of the second half. The Dark Blues had to play the last 20 minutes with nine men after Genseric Kusunga was injured with all three substitutes having been used. Dundee still managed to equalise through Scott Wright, but Cooke completed his hat trick to give St Mirren a win that will send them into the play-offs in confident mood.
James McPake made two changes to the side that won at Livingston last week. Jack Hamilton returned in goal and 16 year old Finn Robertson made his debut. They replaced Seny Dieng, who was a substitute, and Martin Woods, who was not in the squad. Max Anderson, Lyall Cameron and Josh Mulligan from the under 18s were on the Dee bench along with club captain, Josh Meekings, returning from injury to make his first appearance in a match squad since 1st September. St Mirren also had two changes as Gary Mackenzie and Simeon Jackson dropped out with Jack Baird and Ryan Flynn starting.
After a well balanced opening to the game the Dark Blues took the lead after 13 minutes with a beautifully crafted goal. Paul McGowan measured a perfectly weighted pass through the heart of the Buddies defence for Cammy KERR to run in and smack his first time shot high into the net from 12 yards.
Dundee came close to repeating the trick when a clever passs by Andrew Nelson almost set up Kerr again, but St Mirren scrambled clear. The Buddies were getting forward regularly without creating serious danger, but they went close with a Paul McGinn header from a corner that flew wide.
After 20 minutes St Mirren received a big boost when Dundee were reduced to 10 men. Darren O’Dea lost the ball to Brad Lyons 30 yards from goal, then caught the St Mirren man as he tried to recover. Referee Andrew Dallas decided it was a clear goalscoring opportunity and pulled out his red card.
Dundee reverted to a four man defence and St Mirren went on to have more of the ball in the middle of the park, and able to cause problems on the flanks where the full backs weren’t receiving full support from an outnumbered midfield. The Buddies still couldn’t find an end product to their frequent attacks, however. Kyle McAllister went closest when he cut in from the left and his shot through a crowd of players brought a fine save from Jack Hamilton.
The Dark Blues’ attacks were more restricted after the sending off and, like St Mirren, they couldn’t find the right final ball when they neared the penalty area.
St Mirren brought on striker Cody Cooke for full back Mateo Muzek at half time. They had a loud and unsuccessful shout for a penalty right at the start of the second half when a corner struck Ethan Robson. That was turned down but the equaliser soon followed. A neat build up ended with Paul McGowan chipping a cross to the far post where COOKE headed past Hamilton.
The momentum was with the Buddies and Dundee made life much harder for themselves by falling behind after giving the ball away easily in midfield. With the defence out of position Hamilton did well to save from Ryan Flynn but COOKE followed up to stroke home his second goal.
Hamilton pulled off an instinctive save from Danny Mullen’s close range shot after St Mirren played their way through the Dark Blues’ defence. Any hope of the Dark Blues salvaging anything from the game seemed to have gone when Genseric Kusunga went down after being challenged and left the park clutching his hamstring. Nathan Ralph moved to centre back, with Cammy Kerr at left back, and substitute Jesse Curran filling in at right back.
Even with a two man advantage St Mirren allowed themselves to be caught shorthanded at the back when Dundee equalised with a fast and perfectly executed break. Ethan Robson raced away on the left and floated a pass infield to release Scott WRIGHT, who took the ball in his stride before sliding a scoring shot across the keeper and inside the far post from the edge of the penalty area.
The Dark Blue’ makeshift defence was punished only two minutes later when they failed to clear their lines and COOKE completed his hat trick with a shot from 16 yards that Hamilton got his hands to, but couldn’t keep out.
St Mirren should have been reduced to 10 men when centre back Popescu put in two bad challenges on Scott Wright, but was booked for only the first. Retaining their two man advantage they made no more mistakes and saw out the later stages comfortably. Dundee did manage to free Jesse Curran to reach the byline, but his cutback was cleared and the Buddies weren’t troubled again.
This was a frustrating match for the Dark Blues at the end of a desperately disappointing season. They had looked comfortable until the red card tilted the game in St Mirren’s favour. Young Finn Robertson had an assured and promising debut in midfield, but apart from that there was little for Dundee fans to remember from a game that ended a season to forget.
Dundee FC 3-4-1-2
Kusunga, Ryan McGowan, O’Dea
Kerr (c), Robson, Robertson (Mulligan 70), Ralph
Nelson (Curran 55), Miller (Wright 64)
Unused subs: Dieng (gk), Meekings, Anderson, Cameron.
Goals: Kerr (13), Wright (73).
Booked: McGowan (foul on Flynn), Robson (foul on McAllister).
Sent off: O’Dea (denying a clear goalscoring opportunity).
St Mirren 4-3-3
McGinn, Baird, Popescu, Muzek (Cooke at half time)
Flynn, McGinn, Magennis (Erhahon 70)
Lyons (Hodson 23), Mullen, McAllister
Unused subs: Holmes (gk), Nazon, Corbu, Ferdinand.
Goals: Cooke (51, 57, 75).
Booked: Popescu (foul on Wright), Cooke (foul on Paul McGowan).
Referee: Andrew Dallas. Assistants: Graham Chambers, Sean Carr. Fourth Official: Barry Cook.
Report: James Christie.