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Have Dundee stopped the rot? 3 talking points from their Scottish Cup win at Dumbarton

Dundee defeated Dumbarton in the Scottish Cup thanks to a Leigh Griffiths penalty.
Dundee defeated Dumbarton in the Scottish Cup thanks to a Leigh Griffiths penalty.

A second-half Leigh Griffiths spot-kick earned Dundee’s first victory of 2022.

Not much about the Scottish Cup contest at Dumbarton was pretty – pitch, conditions, performance.

If you ask a fan of the Sons, they’d probably include the referee in that list, too.

But Dundee got the job done and the Dark Blues are in the last-16 with a real chance of a first quarter-final spot in six years after drawing another League One side, Peterhead, in the next round.

Leigh Griffiths scores from the spot against Dumbarton.

After six defeats on the bounce in the league, nothing but victory would do to avoid any talks of crisis at Dens.

In doing so, what can we pick out of the 1-0 win at the Rock?

Stop the rot

Facing a struggling League One side in the Scottish Cup, only a positive result would be acceptable to a sizeable travelling support.

Six straight defeats preceded the game, just three goals scored and 12 conceded.

Leigh Griffiths celebrates his winner.

No matter the performance, stopping that run and earning a clean sheet with it will have been a relief to the players.

Especially with a mammoth next fixture at the Premiership’s bottom side St Johnstone.

Now the task is to use the 1-0 success as a foundation for better days ahead.

Ryan Sweeney

At Livingston, Dundee didn’t have a dominant centre-back and it showed as they conceded from two corner kicks.

Ryan Sweeney isn’t a Jack Hendry type defender, he’s big, he’s strong and aggressive – a bit of a bruiser, some might say.

Dundee defender Ryan Sweeney had a tough day against Dumbarton striker Joshua Oyinsan.

But the Dark Blues miss him when he’s not there, particularly when Lee Ashcroft remains on the sidelines with injury.

He also provides a goal threat at the other end and really should have given his side the lead early in the first half, only to head wide of the post.

His return played a big part in Dundee keeping the back door shut, giving the chance to earn a much-needed victory.

Fortunes changing?

When you are in a rut, everything seems to go against you – the ball won’t go in one end, finds the net much more easily at the other and marginal referee calls go against you.

Dumbarton striker Ross MacLean (No 11) sees red.

The ball still wouldn’t go in very easily for Dundee at Dumbarton – chances for Danny Mullen, Sweeney, Cammy Kerr and Griffiths all went begging.

But it didn’t go in at the other end either with Ian Lawlor’s first-team debut fairly quiet.

Refereeing decisions, though, that could have gone the other way, certainly helped.

First, ref Colin Steven spotted an elbow to the ribs from Ross MacLean on Cammy Kerr. Another official, however, could have waved that away.

In the second half, Max Anderson’s cross was certainly blocked by the arm of Joe McKee in the area for the penalty.

But in the final throws of the contest, the ball also struck Dundee defender Kerr on the arm as Dumbarton chased a late equaliser.

Despite looking straight at it, the referee waved away protests. On another day, that could easily have been given.

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good – Dundee will be hoping that’s a sign their fortunes are beginning to turn this season.

 

Dundee hoping to get Zak Rudden in this month as James McPake draws Lawrence Shankland and Kevin Nisbet comparison

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