James McPake’s Dundee continued their pre-season trip to Spain with a hard-fought 0-0 draw with English Championship side Nottingham Forest.
And there was plenty for the new Dark Blues to take out of the contest as he saw his team dominate the opening half before introducing some of the club’s youngsters to good effect late on.
In sweltering heat with the match kicking off in temperatures of 27C at 6.30pm, travelling Dundee fans enjoyed themselves in the sunshine as they cheered on their side in the south of Spain.
And it was a positive first half from the Dark Blues, if one of few chances.
James McPake’s side controlled much of the possession with Paul McGowan instrumental in everything good coming from the Dens men as Forest struggled to get a foothold in the contest.
Creating opportunities, however, was more difficult with a Josh Todd cross deflected over his own bar by Forest defender Jack Robinson early on and late in the half Declan McDaid had the clearest look at goal only to fluff his volley into the keeper’s arms.
Getting through the contest unscathed would become an aim before long, too, as first Josh Meekings took a blow which he ran off and then Cammy Kerr took a whack in the teeth that split his lip.
At the other end, the English side – whose manager Sabri Lamouchi was in charge for the first time since his surprise appointment on Friday – were a threat through Sammy Ameobi and Joe Lolley.
However, Dundee’s defence of Josh Meekings and Jordan McGhee in the centre with Cammy Kerr and Jordan Marshall the full-backs stood up to everything thrown at them, with goalkeeper Jack Hamilton restricted to fielding crosses rather than shots.
The temperature dropped in the second period with a breeze helping the players in the roasting heat.
McGowan and Lolley exchanged efforts on goal before a raft of substitutions arrived.
Among them were first showings for Jordon Forster and Jamie Ness after they signed at the weekend with both showing good glimpses.
Ness, in fact, almost made a stellar first impression as Dundee took advantage of a Forest lapse in concentration with McGowan clear down the right finding Andrew Nelson in the centre.
The striker teed up former Rangers midfielder Ness but his effort was blocked on the edge of the area.
Lolley at the other end, the English side’s most effective player for much of the contest, had a similar feeling shortly beforehand.
He looked certain to score only for McGhee to fling himself in front of the ball before Forster booted the ball well clear.
Forest had stepped up a gear after the substitutions with young full-back Jayden Richardson becoming a real threat with his running ability down the right flank.
However, despite having an XI filled with teenagers, McPake’s side began to get to grips with their more illustrious and more experienced opponents.
First Josh Mulligan burst through the middle of the park and into space but could only find the goalkeeper with his effort.
And that served to fire the youngster up as he enjoyed a physical battle with more than one Nottingham Forest player.
Tyler Walker would smash over from 20 yards at the other end before the match became a bit tetchy towards the end.
Tempers flared as the Spanish referee failed to convince, however, the two sides had to settle for a 0-0 draw as the sun went down at the Pinatar Arena.