A superb Declan McDaid double secured all three points for Dundee against Arbroath at Dens this afternoon.
The Dark Blues approached the game knowing they could cut the gap on league leaders Dundee United to six points following the Tangerines’ defeat at Alloa on Friday night.
And it was mission accomplished thanks to former Ayr player McDaid although the Red Lichties had their chances and also hit the woodwork.
Dundee boss James McPake made four changes from the team that drew at Queen of the South last week with Josh Meekings, Paul McGowan, Sean Mackie and Shaun Byrne coming in for Cammy Kerr, Andy Nelson, Josh McPake and Finlay Robertson.
Arbroath manager Dick Campbell also made wholesale changes from the side that lost to Ayr United last weekend with Darren Jamieson, Mark Whatley, Luke Donnelly, James Murphy and Josh Campbell dropping to the bench with Derek Gaston, Miko Virtanen, Steven Doris, Ben Stirling and David Gold drafted into the starting line-up.
The Red Lichties had the first clear-cut opportunity of the game in the 12th minute when former Dundee striker Doris found space in the home box to hit a shot that was deflected wide for a corner.
The Dark Blues responded soon after but McGowan’s header was easily saved by Arbroath stopper Gaston.
Back came Campbell’s men with David Gold sending a low shot from the edge of the Dundee box just wide of Jack Hamilton’s right-hand post.
McGowan was then presented with another chance but Red Lichties full-back Jason Thomson made a vital block to keep out his shot.
In the 32nd minute Dundee’s Jordan Marshall sent an inviting cross in from the left but Kane Hemmings could not get enough on his header and Gaston made a comfortable save.
However, the deadlock was broken in spectacular fashion six minutes later.
There seemed little danger as McDaid picked up the ball 25 yards out but he hit an unstoppable low shot that flew past Gaston and into the back of the net off the post for his first goal for the club.
That counter came close to being trumped right on the stroke of half-time as Marshall hit a great cross from the left with Hemmings producing an incredible overhead kick that flew just over the bar.
Clear-cut opportunities were noticeable by their absence at the start of the second half although Dundee were looking the more likely to break that pattern – and so it proved.
McDaid was denied in the 59th minute as Gaston made a super save but the Dundee player made no mistake from the resultant corner, picking the ball up on the left of the Arbroath box and sending an unstoppable, curling shot high past the keeper.
However, Arbroath came storming straight back with Stirling hitting a long-range shot that cannoned off Hamilton’s right-hand post before being cleared to safety.
McPake was yellow carded by referee Alan Newlands in the 78th minute after taking his protests too far over a challenge that saw Byrne having to be helped off and substituted.
However, that was all forgotten by the manager as the final whistle sounded with three points in the bag.