Dundee are in very real danger of saying goodbye to any prospect of a Championship title charge after yet another frustrating night in front of goal at Queen of the South.
The Dark Blues were held to a 1-1 draw at Palmerston that leaves James McPake still searching for an away league win as manager.
That their side came up against an inspired goalkeeping performance from Rangers loanee Robby McCrorie will give Dee fans little respite as they saw rivals Dundee United, as well as Ayr, open up a nine-point lead over them at the top of the table.
Especially as they had Cammy Kerr to thank late on in Dumfries as he denied former team-mate Faissal El Bakhtaoui a goal against his old club with a well-timed goal-line clearance.
Friday night’s match under the lights at Palmerston was one that could have gone either way, though, on the balance of play and chances created in the first half, the Dark Blues certainly feel it should have been in their direction the three points were headed.
The Doonhamers have struggled themselves at the start of this season with their previous home match against Morton their only win so far.
However, they came out flying with dangerman Stephen Dobbie looking to be getting back to his best.
With the talisman pulling the strings once more, Queens were a danger but also had McCrorie to thank for earning them a welcome point after a poor start under new boss Allan Johnston.
Dundee went into this one on the back of a disappointing result at Morton and could easily have feared a similar fate after going behind within six minutes.
Failing to close down Dobbie outside the area, the former Swansea and Blackpool favourite rattled a swerving effort off the base of the post.
Slackness in allowing the dangerman space outside the area was then punished as the ball dropped for striker Jack Hamilton to hammer past Dundee’s Jack Hamilton in goal.
Quickly, though, the Dark Blues sparked themselves awake as first Andrew Nelson went close, bringing a flying save out of McCrorie with a fierce effort.
From the resulting corner, Graham Dorrans gave a hint of what’s in store at Dens this season in his first start for the club as he swept in a tempting cross for Jordan McGhee to glance in a fine header just four minutes later.
McCrorie would then pull off another sprawling stop to deny his Rangers team-mate Josh McPake a first goal since joining the Dark Blues on loan.
And another in the second period as he clawed out a goal-bound Dorrans free-kick in the second half.
Chances came for the home side in the closing stages as El Bakhtaoui, Dobbie and Hamilton all went close but Dundee will feel they should have had the game wrapped up in the opening period.
That they didn’t only highlights their struggles in front of goal once more.
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That’s despite the manager putting out an attacking line-up with Kane Hemmings, Nelson, Dorrans, McPake and Declan McDaid all involved from the start.
After seven Championship games, the Dens men have just eight goals to their name.
As well as trailing the top two by nine points, the Dark Blues are way behind Dundee United’s 22 goals scored and Ayr’s 17.
Until Dundee find the scoring touch, that points difference will only increase, leaving McPake’s men scrambling around for a play-off place come the end of the season.
Frustrating times at Dens.