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4 talking points as Dundee set up Raith Rovers semi-final clash after late flurry sees off Dunfermline

Fin Robertson celebrates a goal against Dunfermline.
Fin Robertson scores at Dens Park against Dunfermline. Image: SNS.

Dundee booked a semi-final date with Raith Rovers after seeing off Dunfermline 4-2 at a sandy Dens Park.

The third attempt to play the SPFL Trust Trophy last eight tie saw James McPake make a first return to his old club as an opposing manager.

His team acquitted themselves well but were undone by goals from Paul McMullan and Fin Robertson after Lewis McCann had grabbed a first-half equaliser.

Luke McCowan and Max Anderson added gloss to the scoreline late on before former Dee favourite Craig Wighton smashed in a fine consolation.

How it unfolded

The League One leaders started the match on the front foot with a flurry of chances and the Dark Blues riding their luck as the game remained goal-less.

The hosts did play their way into the contest and took the lead after 29 minutes.

It was a bit of a gift from former Dee Kyle Benedictus after he missed his kick.

Paul McMullan makes it 1-0. Image: SNS.

Kwame Thomas was onto it before laying the ball to McMullan to fire in his eighth goal of the season.

The lead lasted nine minutes before Dunfermline raced away on a counter-attack, Kevin O’Hara sending in a peach of a cross for McCann to power a header beyond Harry Sharp.

The hosts were back in front after the break, however, as they caught the League One side napping from a corner.

Eventually the ball fell to Robertson 20 yards out and he smashed a low effort through the mass of bodies and into the net.

Robertson finds the net in the second half. Image: SNS.

The Pars threw everything they had at the Dundee defence but the contest was over on 82 minutes.

Luke McCowan was a second-half sub for McMullan and was unerring with his left-foot finish from 20 yards, finding the bottom corner to send his team through.

The scoring wasn’t quite finished, however, with Anderson making it 4-1 and Wighton 4-2 in stoppage time.

McPake’s babes v McPake’s Pars

Dundee’s starting XI had a distinct James McPake vibe to it – he either signed or gave debuts to all but one of the dark blue starters.

Kwame Thomas was the only Gary Bowyer signing in the entire matchday squad.

James McPake returned to the Dens Park dugout for the first time since being sacked last February. Image: SNS.

That demonstrates more than anything how difficult Dundee have found it to refresh things at Dens Park seeing as it’s almost a year since McPake lost his job.

Work is obviously still ongoing on that front but there’s just a week now to go before the window slams shut.

It’s clearly not yet Bowyer’s team.

Kwame Thomas

New signing Thomas earned his first start, just a few days after a debut at St Mirren.

Already he looked fitter after those minutes in Paisley and put in a decent show.

The 27-year-old certainly brings something different to the table, he’s a classic targetman.

Kwame Thomas (No 9) set up Paul McMullan for his opening goal. Image: SNS.

And that’s how Dundee played their way into the game after early pressure from the visitors.

Thomas was the platform for the Dee to get up the pitch and he played the part well.

Whether there is a significant goal threat is still to be determined.

But a first assist in dark blue will do the former England U/20 international no harm at all as he beds into a new team.


The Pars went about things exactly as you’d expect a team flying high at the top of their own league.

There was no fear shown, a team full of confidence with designs on another Championship scalp in this competition.

Lewis McCann levelled things up in the first half. Image: SNS.

This was an opportunity for them to show they should be mixing it with the top sides in the second tier rather than trying to get out of League One.

Dunfermline look every inch a Championship side on this showing, even if the game got away from them late on.

With a seven-point lead at the top of the third tier, they surely will be back up for next season.


Dundee, meanwhile, want to look every inch a Premiership outfit come next season.

The surface at Dens Park, however, doesn’t look anywhere near top-flight.

The problem area in the middle of the pitch was covered with sand.

Seen better days is an understatement but it didn’t influence the play in any real way with the weather for once kind to this fixture.

Another match to come on it this weekend, though.