Dundee fans roared their side to a 2-1 victory in the first leg of their Premiership play-off final against Kilmarnock.
Playing in front of a home Dens crowd for the first time, club captain Charlie Adam scored what could be a crucial goal in the Dark Blues’ quest for promotion.
Fans were back inside the ground for the first time in over 14 months and liked what they saw as Jordan McGhee opened the scoring on six minutes.
The home side struck early in the second half, too, as Adam stroked home Paul McMullan’s set-up to cue massive noise from the Bobby Cox Stand.
However, Kilmarnock kept themselves within touching distance going into Monday’s second leg at Rugby Park as Brandon Haunstrup netted for 2-1 on 77 minutes.
The big fitness concerns for the Dark Blues heading into the contest were the hamstrings of both Liam Fontaine and Jordan Marshall.
Centre-back Fontaine made the starting XI, seeing Jordan McGhee move back into the midfield role he’s proved so deadly in. Max Anderson was the man to drop to the bench.
Marshall, meanwhile, was only fit enough for a place on the bench after five weeks out. He was joined by striker Jason Cummings as a substitute with Danny Mullen leading the line.
The dangermen started for the Premiership side with Chris Burke looking to provide service for striker Kyle Lafferty.
Roar from the crowd
A huge roar erupted from the 500 home fans as Dundee kicked off, shooting towards the empty Bob Shankly Stand in the first half.
The rain was teaming down with a chill wind but there was no dampening of voices at the other end.
They were up again seconds into the contest as Shaun Byrne crunched into Greg Kiltie in midfield.
The real roar came on six minutes, though, as Dundee got off to the perfect start.
And it was that man McGhee with another key play-off goal.
Charlie Adam found time in the middle to chip perfectly over the defence for the run of Cammy Kerr.
With his left-foot the full-back sent the ball in first time to find the head of Mullen.
Colin Doyle got to it but could only push the ball onto the post. Following in was McGhee, however, and he got his reward with a tap-in on the line.
And it could easily have been 2-0 inside 10 minutes as Paul McMullan found himself through on goal.
He took his time but couldn’t beat Doyle from the angle.
On the quarter-hour mark Killie threatened for the first time as Lafferty ran the channel in behind Fontaine before curling an effort well wide.
As the conditions worsened, the visitors began to work the ball and work the Dundee defence.
They weren’t getting much change out of the Dark Blues players charged up by the boisterous 500 in the stand, though.
The contest meandered towards half-time with neither side able to create much on the slippy pitch and howling wind.
Kilmarnock boss Tommy Wright wasn’t happy with his side’s performance, either, giving the dugout a good whack and his players an earful.
Four minutes before the break Dundee did create a look at goal and, once more, McGhee was the man.
Mullen did well to get down the left flank before cutting back for the midfielder. McGhee’s effort, though, was deflected into the side-netting.
Cometh the hour…
A quick start to the first half was followed by a fast start to the second.
Dundee shooting towards the home fans, the script was written for only one man.
Harassing play from Christie Elliott saw McMullan pinch the ball off Gary Dicker and cut the ball back.
Playing in front of a home crowd for the first time, lifelong Dee Adam was on hand to fire the Dark Blues 2-0 ahead.
And his celebration in front of the cheering fans showed just how much that meant.
After 14 months away it wouldn’t take much to get the Dundee fans behind their team.
Their team, though, was responding to every shout, every bit of encouragement from the 500-strong support.
On 67 minutes it was almost 3-0 as Killie let possession slip once more, allowing Mullen to run into the area.
His effort was well-struck but Doyle was equal to it with a good stop.
With 15 minutes remaining, Killie got their lifeline.
There was an element of luck about it as a combination of Mullen and Kerr blocked Haunstrup’s first effort.
The ball, though, dropped perfectly for the full-back to slot through the legs of Adam Legzdins.
And it was almost level just moments later as Legzdins had to be sharp to beat the ball out at his front post.
The nerves were obvious from the support every time Kilmarnock ventured forward in the closing stages.
There was still plenty going the other way, too, but there would be no more scoring.
That leaves Dundee just one game away from promotion back to the top flight, heading to Rugby Park on Monday with a 2-1 lead.
Dundee: Legzdins, Elliott (Marshall 67), Fontaine, Ashcroft, Kerr, Byrne, Adam, McGhee, P McGowan, McMullan (Sow 72), Mullen (McDaid 79).
Subs not used: Ferrie, Jakubiak, Anderson, Cummings.
Kilmarnock: Doyle, Haunstrup, Broadfoot, Power, Dicker, Kiltie (McKenzie 57), Ibsen Rossi, Pinnock, Millen, Lafferty, Burke.
Subs not used: Rogers, A McGowan, Oakley, Waters, Medley, Tshibola.
Referee: John Beaton