Andrew Nelson came off the bench to score the only goal of the game against Ayr to secure the three points for Dundee at Dens.
Before kick-off, all talk was about the return of front man Kane Hemmings to the club after he signed a three-year deal on Thursday.
However, it was fellow striker Nelson who proved to be the hero against a tricky Ayr team who more than held their own in the contest.
Dundee boss James McPake made three changes from the team that drew with Dunfermline last week – Hemmings came straight into the team to make his second debut for the club along with Declan McDaid and Jamie Ness with the latter captaining the side.
The skipper against the Pars, Josh Meekings, was on the bench with another two starters from East End Park, Nelson and Shaun Byrne.
There was a chance for Hemmings in just the 10th minute when he was found just inside the Ayr box by Paul McGowan but after making room for himself, the striker’s shot was deflected wide by a defender for a corner.
The Honest Men had a chance of their own eight minutes later when Michael Moffat picked out Alan Forrest inside the Dundee penalty area with home keeper Jack Hamilton having to make a strong low save at his near post to keep out the Ayr player’s angled drive.
Just before the half-hour mark, McDaid tried his luck against his former team with a long-range effort that flew just wide of Ayr keeper Ross Doohan’s left-hand post.
But Ian McCall’s men looked dangerous on the break and shortly after Cammy Kerr had to make a great last-ditch tackle as Luke McCowan raced through on Hamilton’s goal.
As the half edged to a conclusion, it was Ayr who were growing in confidence with Dundee yet to draw a save out of Doohan and there was certainly much for McPake to ponder as the teams headed down the tunnel.
Three minutes after the restart, McGowan came close with a chipped effort on goal that flew just wide of Doohan’s right-hand post with Danny Johnson then hitting a long-range shot that also missed the target.
As the hour mark came and went, the frustration was growing in the home stands as the Dark Blues struggled to carve out further openings.
And in the 67th minute it was Ayr who had a superb opportunity to take the lead when Alan Forrest found himself with a clear shot on goal but Hamilton pulled off a vital stop to deny him.
Shortly after, Hemmings looked to pull the trigger inside the Ayr box but Doohan dived bravely at his feet to snuff out the danger.
However, the breakthrough finally came in the 74th minute. Dundee’s Jordan Marshall sent a pinpoint cross in from the left with Nelson giving Doohan no chance with a clinical downward header.
Dundee tails were up and Hemmings then produced a superb turn before hitting a wicked 25-yard shot that flew just over with the striker receiving a standing ovation when he was replaced by Byrne in the 84th minute.
The Dark Blues could have made it two five minutes later but Doohan made a point-blank save to deny sub Josh Todd.