Goalkeeper Adam Legzdins was spared his new father duties this weekend as he geared up for his Dens Park debut – and it paid off as his penalty save helped Dundee defeat Arbroath with a clean sheet to boot.
However, the former Birmingham and Burnley shot-stopper doesn’t want the plaudits for denying Michael McKenna from 12 yards.
Instead, he says the praise should go to goalkeeping coach Bobby Geddes for the prep work done by the former Dens No 1.
With the Championship clash in the balance at 0-0, the Red Lichties were given a golden opportunity to open the scoring after 30 minutes when young defender Malachi Fagan-Walcott tripped Jason Thomson in the area.
McKenna – who had found the net from the spot the previous week against Queen of the South – shot low but Legzdins was down quickly to his left to keep the scores level.
That allowed the Dark Blues to take the points in the second half through Danny Mullen and Max Anderson goals with Legzdins also earning a clean sheet to cap his first appearance in over four months.
On the penalty save, Legzdins said: “Rab Geddes the goalie coach is the one who should be getting the credit.
“He does all the research and the stats. We talk about it before games and it was up to me to execute all his hard work.
“It is about using all the information at your disposal. Rab had informed me like he does with all the goalkeepers before any other game so I made the decision and luckily it came off.
“Whoever was going to take it, we had an idea what was going to happen.”
How the match unfolded
The first half was one of few chances with Dundee having much of the ball but struggling to find a way through a stubborn Arbroath defence that had only conceded once in their previous three away matches.
Midfielder Anderson was beaten to a Paul McMullan throughball by Red Lichties goalie Derek Gaston early on before referee Willie Collum pointed to the spot.
Fagan-Walcott was also making just his second start for the club after Liam Fontaine picked up an Achilles injury in training.
The Tottenham loanee started the match in confident mood but showed his inexperience in giving away the spot-kick.
Legzdins saved his blushes, however, and the 19-year-old put in an assured performance before picking up a hamstring injury in the second half.
Either side of the break, loose balls fell to Dundee strikers Jason Cummings and Danny Mullen inside the area but on both occasions their finishes flew well over the crossbar.
The all-important opening goal did, however, come on 55 minutes as Paul McMullan added yet another assist to an impressive start to life at Dens Park as he beat two men on the touchline.
The former Dundee United man lifted a cross into the middle for Mullen to nod in via a defender on the line.
That was Mullen’s last involvement as he was substituted before play restarted. On came Charlie Adam as manager James McPake changed formation from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3.
Dundee were in charge and settled any late nerves when McMullen once more caused havoc down the right, sending in a low cross that was cleared straight to Anderson.
The in-form youngster fired goalwards and saw his effort hit both Jason Thomson and Ricky Little before finding the net.
‘Bodies on the line’ for clean sheet
Arbroath pushed late on with some set-pieces but the Dark Blues held on for their third clean sheet of the season.
A fact that delighted Legzdins. He said: “I thought it was a really good team clean sheet.
“There were a lot of bodies put on the line in what was a tough game.
“They are a good outfit and deserve a lot more respect than some people give them.
“So it was a good clean sheet and win.
“We showed a lot of character. Mal (Fagan-Walcott) came in and I thought he did really well but unfortunately he picked up an injury.
“Sam Fisher came on and showed real experience and professionalism for a young boy.
“Showing that dogged side and knowing how to win games is what matters ultimately.”
Legzdins has had to be patient for his chance at Dens Park. After signing in November, he made his debut in a poor 2-0 defeat at Ayr United only to pick up a troublesome calf injury the following week.
And it’s taken almost five months for him to regain fitness and dislodge Jack Hamilton in the No 1 spot – a place he’s keen to keep after Saturday’s performance.
“I wanted to come here and play but unfortunately I got injured,” added Legzdins.
“Jack has done really well and I have just had to bide my time.
“If you are not playing, then you have to bring something to the party and I like to think that I have backed him up well.
“I have tried to drive the team on in training and just waited for my chance.”
Getting in the team the ‘icing on the cake’
The 34-year-old has had a lot to keep him occupied, however, as he kept his patience.
Legzdins’ fiancée Lilly gave birth to their daughter Lilac just last month and getting back in the team has capped an eventful few weeks for the family.
Legzdins said: “We were due to get married last summer but had to cancel because of Covid.
“Our daughter was born here on the 15th of February. It is great to have her born up here.
“To be honest, my fiancee has been brilliant doing a lot of the hard work since she arrived.
“I have been let off a lot of the late shifts but I am still doing my bit trying to help when I can.
“I got a night off on Friday so I could be ready for the game.
“We are very happy here. It is a lovely area with lovely people and I am really enjoying the football club.
“Getting in the team is the icing on the cake – hopefully I can keep enjoying it and stay in the team.”