Dundee are top of the Championship tree at Christmas.
The festivities started early this year for the Dark Blues as they came away from Recreation Park with all three points.
The win, courtesy of a goal by one of their three wise men Peter MacDonald, saw John Brown’s men climb back to the top of the pile in Scotland’s second tier.
In fact, I say three wise men, make that 11. Experience really was the difference between the two on Saturday as Dundee inflicted the first loss in eight on Paul Hartley’s promotion-chasing Wasps. Few teams have managed to get much change out of Alloa they’ve been the division’s in-form side.
Despite that, Dundee made light work of what could’ve been a real banana skin.
Panic was the word in the run-up to the game. Having climbed to the top of the table two weeks ago, Dundee let their guard down at Dens last week, surrendering to relegation-threatened Cowdenbeath.
They were not in any mood to do the same again, getting off to a bright start.
Martin Boyle was the catalyst for a lively opening 20 minutes for the visitors. The 20-year-old came close to opening the scoring his 25-yard shot, after a jinking run, sailed inches wide of the upright.
Again involved, he linked up brilliantly with Jim McAlister on the right. McAlister’s ball in picked out MacDonald but his header was off target. Peaso was unlucky not to register shortly before the quarter-hour Boyle’s pinpoint cross found him in space. With the whole goal to aim at, the veteran frontman’s shot was somehow deflected over.
Dominant to this point, Dundee then began to give away the initiative as the home side grew into the game.
The first warning shot came in the opening exchanges of the second 45 Ryan McCord’s cross fizzed across the Dundee goalmouth. Liam Caddis, signed on loan from St Johnstone, then stung the palms of Kyle Letheren, before Daryll Meggat did the same.
Piling on the pressure Alloa looked the most likely scorers, until MacDonald made his mark. Against the run of play, Matt Lockwood chipped a ball into the box. Rising highest, Boyle nodded back across goal to MacDonald, who was left with the easiest of finishes.
Former Montrose man Boyle thought he bagged his first of the campaign, Dundee’s second, but the flailing legs of Scott Bain miraculously kept Alloa in it.
As the game petered out, with the visitors in the driving seat, defender Iain Davidson was given his marching orders for an off- the-ball altercation.
But it made no difference to the outcome. The result was a far cry from the no show seven days earlier.
The win came at the beginning of a timely period quite often those on top at Christmas, see the job through come May.
This title race, far from a two-horse affair, will have a few more twists and turns in it before the end. But, judging by the way Hamilton are dropping points, Dundee have a fantastic opportunity to capitalise.