Goals, penalties, a red card and some long, long VAR checks – Dundee’s trip to Livingston had it all.
It was the Dark Blues who came out on top with a big 4-1 victory with new signing Michael Mellon enjoying a fruitful debut after making an instant impact.
Amadou Bakayoko kicked things off for the travelling Dee as he scored the only goal of the first half on 19 minutes.
That Dundee were ahead at the break was thanks to Harry Sharp’s penalty save on 40 minutes after a controversial VAR decision.
The second half brought even more drama with Luke McCowan making it 2-0 before being sent off.
Two minutes after the red card, Livi won another penalty with Tete Yengi making it 2-1. Two minutes after that, Zach Robinson made it 3-1.
And, after another long VAR check, Mellon capped a fine first appearance in dark blue with a strike from 20 yards to complete the victory.
Changes and Pace in the stands
Tony Docherty rang the changes following the 3-2 loss at Hearts on Tuesday.
Trevor Carson was absent once more, this time a precaution due to Livingston’s artificial pitch after missing last weekend’s game at Kilmarnock with a knock.
New signing Michael Mellon took the bench after international clearance came through in time while Luke McCowan shrugged off his hamstring issue.
Burnley chairman Alan Pace was in the stands to watch two on-loan Clarets in the starting XI as the partnership between the two clubs kicks off.
As well as the personnel changes, Docherty changed tack as he ditched the back three.
Dundee started with a back four but a smooth transition, however, as the visitors struggled to get into the game early on.
Livi were enjoying the better of things but it was Dundee who took the lead. McCowan’s cross was diverted straight to the feet of Bakayoko by defender James Penrice.
And the Dee frontman made no mistake in hammering the finish into the far corner.
The home side continued to threaten, however, and they got a big chance to equalise on 40 minutes.
McCowan was adjudged to have pushed Jason Holt over on the edge of the Dundee box. VAR, though, said it was inside to the fury of the Dark Blues. Video shows that fury was justified with the challenge outside the area.
Referee Ross Hardie, though, was instructed to point to the spot by the video assistant.
Sharp was equal to Andrew Shinnie’s penalty, however, as he kept his side in front going into half-time.
Despite his side leading, Docherty rang more changes at the break as he returned to his preferred back three for the second 45.
Livi continued to make the running but, once more, Dundee pounced on an error at the back.
Michael Nottingham played the ball straight to McCowan and the Dee dangerman punished the defender.
McCowan played a one-two with new boy Mellon, on just minutes before, and rolled the ball beyond the goalkeeper into the corner.
The drama had only just begun at that point, however.
On 75 minutes, the already-booked McCowan tripped his man in midfield and was given his marching orders.
Two minutes later, Livingston were given a second penalty after Owen Dodgson dived in on Joel Nouble.
This time Yengi made no mistake to cut the score to 2-1.
It looked like a long 13 minutes ahead for the 10 men of Dundee but they restored their two-goal cushion on 79 minutes.
Again Mellon played a major role, this time latching onto a loose ball and cutting it back for sub Robinson to knock into an empty net.
And on 87 minutes – after yet another lengthy VAR check – the Dark Blues new boy capped a fine debut by firing in from 20 yards to send the travelling fans wild.
Victory puts Dundee back into seventh spot and just a point off the top six.
Star Man: Michael Mellon
He’s barely been at Dundee a day but already Mellon has made himself a star.
From the off, the Burnley loanee looked the part. Then came one assist for McCowan and another for Robinson before he powered in a goal of his own to seal victory.
Only on the park for half-an-hour but what an impact.
Livingston: McGovern, Donnellan (Nouble 57), Obileye, Anderson, Kelly (Yengi 57), MacKay, Bradley (Brandon 57), Holt, Nottingham, Shinnie (Sangare 71), Penrice.
Subs not used: George, Kelly, Ledingham, Culbert, Lawal.
Dundee FC: Sharp 8, Dodgson 5, Shaughnessy 6, Ashcroft 7, McGhee 7, Costelloe 6 (Howley 46, 6 (Boateng 60, 6)), Sylla 7, Robertson 7 (Mulligan 46, 6), McCowan 5, Tiffoney 6 (Mellon 61, 8), Bakayoko 7 (Robinson 71, 7).
Subs not used: Legzdins, Astley, Main, Cameron.
Referee: Ross Hardie