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Dundee’s top-six season in numbers as Luke McCowan smashes 37-year record

A long campaign is at an end - what do the stats tell us about the Dark Blues in 2023/24?

Dundee Player of the Year Luke McCowan. Image: David Young/Shutterstock
Dundee Player of the Year Luke McCowan. Image: David Young/Shutterstock

Dundee’s return to top-flight football was a memorable one.

Big results, big goals, a top-half finish and plenty to shout about.

For the first time since 2018, the Dark Blues retained their place in the Premiership after a string of yo-yo seasons.

For the first time since 2015 and only the fourth time this century, they finished in the top six.

Jordan McGhee leads Dundee’s top six celebrations. Image: SNS

There are plenty of other numbers – good and bad – to look at from 2023/24, including a remarkable feat from Luke McCowan that has stood for almost four decades.

Courier Sport picks out the numbers that tell the story of Dundee in 2023/24.

Goals

Dundee’s goal tally of 49 from 38 games was the club’s best in the top flight since 2016 (53) and second-highest tally since 2003 (50).

Their 42 points also stacks up well – their best since 2016 again (48).

Tony Docherty’s side also scored more home goals (24) than the club have managed in each of the five most recent seasons at Premiership level.

Dundee’s Amadou Bakayoko celebrates a goal at Dens Park. Image: SNS

And more away goals (25) than any season in the top division since 2003/04 when Nacho Novo was top scorer.

That’s the good bit.

Dundee’s defensive numbers in 2023/24 aren’t great. Only Livingston conceded more with 70 going past them compared to the Dee on 68.

Sixty-eight is more than they were relegated with under Mark McGhee in 2022 (64) but fewer than in 2019 (78).

Dundee's Premiership league position across 2023/24. Image: SPFL.
Dundee’s Premiership league position across 2023/24. Image: SPFL.

Aside from that disastrous 2018/19 campaign, it is the highest any Dundee team have conceded in a season since relegation in 2005 (71).

The mitigating factor in this are heavy defeats to Rangers and Celtic.

In those eight games, 28 goals were conceded – that’s 41% of the total.

Add in Hearts and 37 of the 68 goals conceded came against the Premiership’s top three – 54% let in against the top trio, the remaining 46% to the eight other clubs.

However, across the campaign Dundee were fifth in the division for clean sheets with 11.

Star men

Earning eight of those 11 clean sheets was Trevor Carson while Jon McCracken notched the other three.

At the other end, Luke McCowan was the most influential attacking option.

Dundee top scorers list 2023/24.
Dundee top scorers list 2023/24.

He scored 10 goals and laid on a further five across the campaign (more on him later).

Amadou Bakayoko got six goals and assisted five while Zach Robinson also scored six in all competitions, finishing the season with the best Goals Per 90 Minutes ratio of any player by some distance (0.46).

Robinson also had the best Goal Conversion rate at 27%, ahead of Jordan McGhee on 24% and Michael Mellon on 23%.

The best passer (of players having featured in 10 or more games) was Lyall Cameron with a passing accuracy of 79.4%. Next was Malachi Boateng (77.1%), then Josh Mulligan (76.2%).

Only three players in the Premiership were booked more than Owen Beck. Image: SNS

And on the bad boy list was Owen Beck with nine yellow cards, the fourth highest tally in the division. Most was Michael Devlin of Livingston on 11.

Beck, though, was the most creative player across the season. He created 52 chances in 28 matches (1.86 per 90) with McCowan creating 54 in 40 (1.35 per 90).

Youth

Lyall Cameron on the ball against Kilmarnock. Image: Shutterstock
Dundee’s Young Player of the Year Lyall Cameron on the ball. Image: Shutterstock

Dundee had the youngest squad in the Premiership in terms of minutes played, joint with Hearts.

Both sides’ average was 26.1 years.

There was very little between the entire division, however, with the league average being 26.86.

The oldest was Livingston at 28.5 years.

Luke McCowan

The most remarkable stat this season comes courtesy of Dundee’s Player of the Year, Luke McCowan.

He finished the season as the club’s top goalscorer and had the most assists.

McCowan achieved the best Premiership tally of any Dee since Kane Hemmings and Greg Stewart in 2015/16.

John Brown (right) was the last Dundee midfielder to score 10 goals in the top division. Image: SNS

More remarkable than that, Luke McCowan registered the best goalscoring top-flight season for any Dundee midfielder since John Brown in 1987.

It has been almost 40 years since any midfielder in dark blue notched double figures in the top division.

‘Bomber’ Brown got 11 in 1985/86 and 10 in 1986/87.

Dundee's top scoring midfielders in the top flight since 1960.
Dundee’s top scoring midfielders in the top flight since 1960.

For the previous best you have to go all the way back to the great Andy Penman during the glory era of the 1960s.

The title-winner in ‘62 notched double figures five times in five seasons, his best being 24 in 1964/65.

McCowan’s double-figure Dundee season puts him in pretty lofty company.

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