Dundee dropped out of the play-off places after falling to a 3-2 home defeat to in-form Queen of the South.
It was the Dark Blues’ first match in three weeks after a string of call-offs and they looked rusty from the start.
It took less than a minute for Queens to win a penalty, scored by Ayo Obileye, before Rhys Breen made it 2-0 after 36 minutes.
Jason Cummings marked his first start for Dundee with a goal after the break as the hosts pushed for a route back into the contest.
However, a screamer from Willie Gibson after 77 minutes extended his side’s lead to 3-1 before Jordan Marshall nodded in with eight minutes left.
It wasn’t enough to earn anything, though, as Dundee suffered a second-straight defeat with Queens leapfrogging them into fourth in the table.
Three weeks after their last outing, Dundee made four changes from the defeat at Raith Rovers with Cummings making his first start.
Returning were Liam Fontaine and Lee Ashcroft at centre-back while Cammy Kerr made his first start since November.
Stephen Dobbie dropped to the bench for Queens after making his return from injury in the Doonhamers’ 1-0 win at Inverness.
The return to action for the Dark Blues started in the worst possible fashion after Ashcroft knocked over Isaiah Jones in the area and Queens had a penalty after just 45 seconds.
Obileye kept up his perfect career record from the spot by nonchalantly rolling the ball into the corner for 1-0.
The electric pace of Jones down the left was causing the home defence huge problems as Dundee looked to shake off the rust early on.
The hosts grew into the contest as the first period wore on and went close through Charlie Adam on the half-hour but his fierce effort from 18 yards flew over.
However, they went further behind on 36 minutes as Breen rose highest in the area to meet a Euan East cross and saw his header hit the post and rebound in off Jack Hamilton.
Seconds after that Cummings was inches away from his first Dundee goal as he found space on the edge of the area but dragged his low effort wide.
Osman Sow flicked an Adam corner wide from close range but the home side went in at the break two goals down.
Danny Mullen emerged at the break in place of sitting midfielder Shaun Byrne as manager James McPake looked for a route back into the game for his side.
And Mullen should have made an immediate impact with the ball falling to him at the far post from a Kerr cross. The striker, though, somehow fired wide.
Seconds later, though, Dundee were on the scoresheet and it was a first strike for new signing Cummings.
The former Hibs and Rangers man beat Rohan Ferguson to the ball and nicked it over him, Gregor Buchanan failing to clear it off the line.
And it was almost 2-2 after just 53 minutes as Sow saw a flicked header wide from a McMullan cross.
The ball was in the net after the hour mark after a real scramble in the Queens six-yard box but Sow’s goal was ruled out for a foul on the goalkeeper.
With Dundee pushing forward, the visitors were a danger on the break and almost added to their lead through Willie Gibson but the full-back smashed over.
That danger wasn’t heeded on 77 minutes as Gibson let rip, this time from 25 yards, and buried his effort into the top corner for 3-1.
The Dark Blues, though, weren’t giving up and there was another first goal for the club as left-back Jordan Marshall rose to meet a McMullan cross to score against his former team.
It was too little, too late for Dundee, however, as they remain without a victory in their last three Championship matches.
Dundee: Hamilton, Kerr, Fontaine, Ashcroft, Marshall, Byrne (Mullen 46), Adam, McGowan, McMullan, Sow (Afolabi 76), Cummings.
Subs not used: Legzdins, Fagan-Walcott, Elliott, Robertson, Anderson.
Queen of the South: Ferguson, Nortey, Maxwell, Buchanan, Obileye, McGrory (McCabe 68), Joseph (Dobbie 76), East, Breen, Jones, Gibson.
Subs not used: Fitzpatrick, McKechnie, McMahon, Rae.
Referee: Barry Cook