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Dundee 0 Nottingham Forest 0: Dark Blues can take plenty of encouragement from Spanish draw against Englishmen

Josh Todd in action against Forest.
Josh Todd in action against Forest.

There were no goals but Dundee can take heart from their stint in the Spanish sunshine against Nottingham Forest.

Inspired by a terrific midfield display from Paul McGowan, they were more than a match for the English Championship side in this friendly.

The Scotland versus England clash was the first game for the Dundee players since arriving at their Murcia training camp at nearby Real Club de Golf Campoamor Resort.

It was also the first fixture in charge for new Forest head coach Sabri Lamouchi following last week’s shock sacking of ex-Celtic boss Martin O’Neill.

Lamouchi appears to have his work cut out as their opponents looked extremely comfortable at times.

The Dark Blues made their travelling fans – an enthusiastic and noisy group based in one corner of the stadium – wait for their first sight of most recent signings Jamie Ness and Jordon Forster, with both players starting on the bench.

Skipper Josh Meekings led the team out and Dundee threatened on six minutes when Josh Todd swept a cross over from the right and Forest’s Jack Robinson hooked the ball over his own bar.

The Dens men were seeing plenty of the ball, with McGowan showing up particularly well, and they had a go again through Declan McDaid on 15 minutes but his shot was blocked by a group of defenders.

The English Championship side looked the part but they had yet to hurt James McPake’s men.

Once again it was a player wearing dark blue who had an effort on target on 21 minutes, although Craig Curran’s overhead kick was easily saved by goalie Costel Pantilimon.

Midway through the first half the players stopped for a water break, a very wise move indeed given the high temperature.

Joe Lolley had what may have been a sweet strike blocked as Forest finally got up the pitch then, up at the other end, Todd sent a shot over the bar from just outside the box with 35 minutes on the clock.

McDaid had an opportunity to give the Scots the lead just before the break but he didn’t catch his volley right and the ball looped up and into the arms of Pantilimon.

Dundee were unchanged at the restart, which wasn’t a surprise given that they looked anything but out of place against the English team in the opening period.

They were on the back foot on 48 minutes, though, when Lolley fired an angled drive just past the post.

McPake threw on Forster, Callum Moore and Josh Mulligan with 58 minutes on the clock, with Meekings, Todd and Finlay Robertson making way.

On 64 minutes, Lolley spurned a great chance of a breakthrough when he was picked out inside the box but took too long and his strike was saved by replacement keeper Luke Steele.

Curran and Byrne made way on 69 minutes, to be replaced by Andrew Nelson and Ness, while Sam Fisher went on to take Jordan Marshall’s place as he went off with what looked like a groin injury.

The Dark Blues broke upfield and, following a terrific crossfield pass from McGowan, the ball made its way to sub Ness, whose strike was blocked by Ryan Yates.

Forster stuck out a boot to kick away a dangerous cross into the box on 75 minutes and the resultant Forest corner came to nothing.

Mulligan then went off on a decent run that took him to the edge of the Nottingham box but his low drive was gathered by Steele.

Sub Tyler Walker scooped a shot over the Dundee bar before the Dens men made another change, with the excellent McGowan getting a well-deserved rest and Lyall Cameron – the scorer of the winning goal at Brechin on Saturday – getting a runout for the closing stages.

Overall this performance will have heartened the Dark Blues and put a spring in the step of the players for the rest of their stay.

Dundee: Starting team: Hamilton, Kerr, McGhee, Meekings, Todd, Byrne, McGowan, McDaid, Curran, Robertson, Marshall. Subs: Ferrie, Ness, Forster, Nelson, Moore, Anderson, Cameron, Mulligan, Fisher.

Nottingham Forest: Pantilimon, Cash, Osborn, Robinson, Dawson, Figueiredo, Grabban, Watson, Lolley, Yates, Ameobi. Subs: Steele, Richardson, Worrall, Tacob, Bridcutt, Ansarifard, Murphy, Milosevic, Vieira, Appiah, Walker, Johnson, Fornah, Shelvey.

Referee: Jose Francisco Lopez Lucas.