Dundee put together their most complete performance of the season as they swept past Alloa Athletic at the Indodrill Stadium.
Striker Kane Hemmings was the star of the show as he answered his critics in style with two superb first-half strikes before setting up Sean Mackie with a late third on a chilly night in Clackmannanshire.
After clinching their first away win of the league season last Friday night at Ayr United, James McPake’s side put together their first back-to-back victories of the campaign with a commanding performance.
Loanee Conor Hazard may have been the first goalkeeper tested but it was the visiting side who started the match with vim and vigour.
Midfield maestro Graham Dorrans was at the heart of everything good from the Dark Blues as he dictated from the middle of the park.
The Wasps couldn’t get anywhere near the former Rangers and West Brom man as he pulled the strings for the increasingly-confident Dundee.
That confidence was well-placed and so was manager James McPake’s un-erring belief in his frontman, as Hemmings repaid that and then some with a stellar display.
He kicked off a fine night for the Dark Blues – their best of the campaign so far – as he and Declan McDaid were too sharp for the home defence, exchanging passes to send Hemmings in on goal where he made no mistake by planting the ball through goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald’s legs.
From there, Dundee controlled the first 45 and doubled their lead six minutes before the break with a superb team goal.
Alloa broke down their right after Andrew Nelson, once more employed as a left-winger, gave up possession.
He didn’t give up on the ball, however, with a lung-bursting run covering more than half the pitch forcing the Wasps into a mistake – from there Dundee were away.
Jordan Marshall had set up the counter and was played down the left by Dorrans with space to power into and the left-back picked out a peach of a cross which gave Hemmings the chance to bury his second of the evening.
Despite the home side upping their game after the break, the Dark Blues backline were in no mood to give in to any sort of comeback after doing so in such spectacular fashion in the 3-1 defeat at home to Partick just 10 days ago.
They dealt with everything thrown at them by the Wasps and chances continued to come at the other end with Hemmings close to grabbing a third early on, bringing a good save from MacDonald.
He turned provider with 15 minutes left on the clock as he burst past a defender and, instead of shooting, cut the ball across for the waiting Sean Mackie to roll the ball into the empty net with his first touch after coming off the bench.
Manager McPake had been full of praise for the efforts of his frontman over the past few weeks even if the goals hadn’t been flowing with none in his previous seven outings.
He wasn’t too complimentary about Hemmings’ miss late on, however, as the 28-year-old blazed the ball over the bar with the goal gaping to pass up the chance of a treble.
Despite that, it was an excellent night’s work from the striker and one that will give the Dens faithful plenty to be excited about for the rest of the campaign.
With Dorrans pulling the strings in the middle, a defence looking solid and a real goal- getter in scoring form, the Dark Blues are starting to look like they mean business in the Championship title race.