Sheer grit and determination helped Dundee to earn vital win

Canadian international hitman Marcus Haber caused Hamilton no end of bother on Saturday as the Dark Blues finally picked up their first league victory since the opening day of the season. Picture by David Young
Canadian international hitman Marcus Haber caused Hamilton no end of bother on Saturday as the Dark Blues finally picked up their first league victory since the opening day of the season. Picture by David Young

Dundee came away from Hamilton with their first win in 10 games in what was described as a fighting display from their manager.

The battling qualities were definitely evident but it seemed like the performance of Marcus Haber and Craig Wighton as a strike partnership contributed to the victory.

Canadian Haber has obviously been brought in to score goals but it was his overall play that impressed most on Saturday.

The 27-year-old used all his experience to bring players into the game and showed some good touches to hold the ball up as he waited for his team-mates to support.

The 6ft 3in forward also won a lot of flick-ons, which meant the ball wasn’t continually being returned to the Dark Blues rearguard from any long kick from keeper David Mitchell.

This is the one thing a defender wants to help ease pressure during a game.

With Marcus winning those balls, it meant the defence could push the midfield on to support the front two with more confidence.

It also meant Craig Wighton played in probably his best position, just off the main striker, where he is able to pick up the ball in holes behind the opposing midfield or run in behind for the flick-ons from a target man.

In time he will gamble on the touches from the centre-forward and, the more the relationship grows, the better it will get.

The young Dundonian just has to add goals to his good play.

Elsewhere on the park, Tom Hateley sitting in front of the back three gave more stability to the team, too.

It gave Paul McGowan and James Vincent a licence to support the front two and also to get in the box.

Midfielder Paul McGowan scored the winner for the Dark Blues.
Midfielder Paul McGowan scored the winner for the Dark Blues.

It is no surprise the goal Dundee scored came from the two midfielders being in the box from a cross.

Vincent put pressure on the defender at the back post from the cross and, when it wasn’t cleared properly, Gowser was on hand to have a strike from the edge of the box, which saw the ball end up in the back of the net.

At the opposite end, Dundee’s three centre-backs were aggressive and went tight when they had to, which gave the Hamilton forwards very little time or space to do anything.

The trio defended their area well and didn’t look as suspect at set-pieces as they have in previous weeks. This was all down to the determination to not getting beaten.

Kevin Holt also returned to a position where he had played with his previous team QOS. He had done well as a centre-back but looked more comfortable in the wing-back role and was never exploited there.

He replaced Danny Williams, who hadn’t done badly in that area, but maybe it was the best time to take him out as he did look to be suffering from being low in confidence.

Manager Paul Hartley has expressed his delight at the team’s fighting qualities in a place where they don’t have a great record.

It was a good result but it is only the beginning, there is no point in having such a display to follow it up with a poor home performance — and this is something Hartley will be well aware of.

The players took responsibility on Saturday and will need to show that again, when Motherwell are this weekend’s visitors to Dens Park.

The Dee haven’t won at home in the league this season but there will be no better time to get that victory against the Steelmen, who scored four goals at the weekend against Ross County.

Picking up their first three points at home should help Dundee’s confidence and help them climb up the table to safety.

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