Dundee hope to keep derby form over St Johnstone going in must-win clash

Striker Marcus Haber leaps for joy after putting Dundee ahead the last time they met St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

As a tough a run-in as you can get awaits Dundee before the Premiership split next month — first, though, they face a welcome opponent in St Johnstone.

Welcome, that is, because the Dark Blues have enjoyed a good recent run against their Tayside rivals.

Only two points separate the two clubs in the league table and, with Aberdeen, Hearts, Celtic and Rangers to come — with only the Jambos at Dens Park — for Dundee, “must-win” has been plastered all over this one at the weekend.

On paper, it looks that way — the good news is for the Dee that, on paper, they have as good a record against Saints as anyone.

In fact, this season, the Perth side are the only team Dundee have beaten every time they’ve faced each other.

As manager, Neil McCann also boasts a 100% record against his Perth counterpart Tommy Wright with 3-2 and 2-0 victories at his back.

Historically, the Dark Blues have the edge over St Johnstone with 69 wins to 51 with 40 draws.

And, apart from a wee spell under Paul Hartley, that theme has continued in a positive vein for Dundee since they returned to the top flight in 2014.

© David Young
A-Jay Leitch-Smith beats Saints keeper Alan Mannus to notch his first goal for the Dark Blues at Dens.

Since that five-game spell from November 2014 to November 2015 where the Dens men won only one, the Dark Blues have had the better of it.

Four victories in the last six since that time should have the current crop going into the game with confidence.

And a 50% record since promotion three-and-a-half years ago isn’t to be sniffed at either.

Depending on whether you see your glass as half-empty or half-full, the good news is Dundee are currently beating the overall historical average against Saints. That is a win 43% of the time since 1924.

The bad news is, by the law of averages, that 50% is due to fall soon with the Perth side due a result.

Stats aside, however, what really matters is this campaign, despite St Johnstone’s league standing saying they’ve been the better of the two sides overall, Dundee have been better in the two meetings.

Dundee 3-2 St Johnstone

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Dens Park

This was a big moment for the Dee’s season — their first league victory at their sixth attempt.

The 3-2 win got them off the foot of the table, too, and put the brakes on a promising start for the Perth men as they tasted defeat for the first time, having won three and drawn twice.

It was a crazy day but one the Dark Blues deserved to take the three points.

A-Jay Leitch-Smith got his first goals for the club, notching after nine minutes from close range before a fine finish made it 2-0.

Then came the mad end to the game. With 15 minutes to go, the first of three penalties were awarded with Liam Craig getting both for Saints either side of Sofien Moussa’s spot-kick. Darren O’Dea got himself sent-off before St Johnstone’s second goal but the 10 men held on.

St Johnstone 0-2 Dundee

Saturday, December 30

McDiarmid Park

After Marcus Haber headed in and Richie Foster got himself sent off for the hosts, at half-time there was only one winner.

In the second half, though, Dundee lost their control of the game and Saints were unlucky not to equalise with Stefan Scougall smacking the post.

Once more, A-Jay Leitch-Smith stepped up late on to take a big win for the visitors.

Both wins over St Johnstone have been vital for the Dark Blues — how big could a result on Saturday be?