It wasn’t Firhill for thrills but Dundee fans weren’t complaining as their team made it two wins on the bounce with a 1-0 victory over Partick Thistle at the weekend.
While the margin of success was only one goal, the manner of the win suggests Dundee have reason to be optimistic as 2020 approaches.
Seven points from their last three games has the Dark Blues moving in the right direction after a sticky November saw the team toiling.
However, the biggest plus from the performance was the way James McPake’s men controlled proceedings for much of the 90 minutes.
Bar a Kenny Miller effort in the first half which came back off the underside of the bar and a curling shot from the same player after the break which Jack Hamilton saved comfortably, the visitors ran the show.
Indeed, if it hadn’t been for Scott Fox in the home goal, the margin of victory would have been far more comfortable.
As it was, Paul McGowan’s strike just after the half-hour was good enough to secure the win.
Now the Dark Blues can go into Friday’s derby against their oldest rivals Dundee United with a degree of confidence.
A week earlier, Dundee had almost imploded against a 10-man Dunfermline side.
But, on Saturday, with Josh Meekings restored to central defence in place of Jordon Forster, the visitors restricted the Jags to scraps as they tried to hit back after McGowan’s strike.
Young Fin Robertson showed maturity beyond his 17 years as he anchored the midfield behind Graham Dorrans and McGowan, while the latter pair were a class above what was in front of them.
Dorrans, in particular, turned in the sort of performance which saw him win 12 Scotland caps and play much of his career in the top flight in England.
Indeed, the former West Brom midfielder looks far more effective playing in an advanced role rather than being deployed just in front of the back four.
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Up front, Kane Hemmings and Danny Johnson were, once again, paired together in attack and, as a result, the Dens men look a far more potent outfit than they had been only weeks earlier.
Hemmings put in another top show, setting up McGowan with a terrific run and cross for the game’s only goal and the striker was unfortunate to see one second-half effort come back off the post while another went inches wide of Fox’s post.
Overall, it was a satisfying day for McPake and his men and they can now turn their sights to Friday’s clash at Tannadice.
And, while United are sweeping all before them, Dundee will go into the game in a far better frame of mind than they had been at the start of the month.
It’s also worth paying tribute to Dark Blues boss McPake, who has been the subject of a fair bit of stick since last month’s abject derby failure sparked a run of three defeats that saw his team slide out of the play-off slots.
The manager never hid from the fact his team had been performing way below what has been expected of them.
But a hard-fought point at Arbroath, followed by victories over the Pars and the Jags – teams who had previously been on reasonable runs themselves – suggests Dundee have the ingredients in their pool to push on in the New Year.
However, to do that, McPake will need to find the right mix in his starting line-up but, with a squad which was just assembled in the summer, that could be the rookie gaffer’s toughest job.
For Dundee fans now, though, there is only one thing that matters this week – and it isn’t the man with the white beard and red coat coming down the chimney on Wednesday!