Dundee boss Neil McCann is pleased to see his side stand up to the rough stuff dished out by a physical Farense side in their final friendly of pre-season.
The contest, which brought the Dark Blues’ training camp in Portugal to an end in Albufeira, was only a friendly in name as the Portuguese side ran out 3-2 winners.
From Jack Lambert taking a boot to the head in the first 10 minutes, there was a tension throughout the game that boiled over towards the end.
That led to some hefty challenges – from both sides – and one or two altercations with the Dundee players, in particular, unhappy with the treatment dished out by the Farense players.
In between there were some goals – the first early on as the Dark Blues started sluggishly and allowed Bruno Bernardo to tap home unmarked from a corner before Lambert fired in a sweet strike after 18 minutes.
The Portuguese side regained the lead right on half-time with Vanja Markovic beating the offside trap and finishing well across Elliott Parish before Genseric Kusunga gave away a penalty shortly after coming on and gave Fabio Gomes the chance to make it 3-1 from the spot.
With key players Glen Kamara and Paul McGowan on, however, the Dark Blues ran the game and the latter set trialist Adil Nabi through to finish smartly.
And with the final kick of the game, Elton Ngwatala had a glorious chance to make it 3-3 but fluffed his kick as the referee blew the whistle.
That made it two defeats from two against Portuguese opposition in the Algarve but gaffer Neil is pleased with the way his side are shaping up ahead of the season’s kick-off this Saturday.
He wasn’t so pleased with the performance of the Portuguese referee, however.
He said: “When you’re picking friendlies, you are looking to get up to speed for the start of the season and I don’t expect Stirling Albion to be coming out to be half-hearted.
“You can’t say we’ve picked easy games for pre-season – both matches have been really physical.
“I have to say some of the challenges our boys had to take were disgusting. There were some shocking challenges. There’s elbows and kicking off the ball.
“The official was supposed to be a league referee but he clearly forgot his cards and took the friendly thing too far.
“We said to him after the fourth or fifth foul it was going to go the wrong way.
“There were nasty challenges from both sides eventually because our boys have to protect themselves.
“However, I’m pleased because we showed a side that we can look after ourselves out there. I’m really delighted there is no lasting damage.
“You want to get an edge to your game for the new season and I think we’ve got that.”
The Dens gaffer was careful not to work his players too hard after a short turnaround from the Portimonense game on Sunday ahead of the weekend’s clash at Stirling Albion as he gave players like Dan Jefferies and Jesse Curran game time.
Neil added: “I don’t think the results are the important thing.
“We chopped and changed our side. Young Jefferies had a couple of lessons and he’ll learn from them, absolutely.
“I think as a team we come away and I think we put in a power of work. I’ve really driven them hard with Graham Gartland and Bobby Geddes.
“We really pushed them to the edge to be ready for the new season.”