A lack of tempo in Dundee’s play was at fault in their 1-0 loss to Brechin City on Saturday, according to unimpressed Dark Blues boss Paul Hartley.
City goalkeeper Graeme Smith had to make a number of good saves from Greg Stewart and Kane Hemmings.
However, the Dens Park side struggled to make the difference in ability show against their League One opponents, who took victory in their final pre-season outing thanks to Robert Thomson’s second-half goal.
Hartley said: “I just think the tempo was missing, our passing was poor, so it’s something we have to work on.
“We look at the performances and it’s not all about the results, but we should have played better. I don’t think we did as well as we did in the last two games in Hungary and against Raith in the middle of the week.
“But the big game for us is Kilmarnock.”
Player-manager Darren Dods was pleased with his side after shoring up what has been a leaky backline in pre-season so far.
He said: “We could have been a bit better when we had the ball but defensively we were much better than we have been in previous games.”
Gary Harkins and James McPake combined early on, a driving run from the latter and a one-two ending with the ex-Hibernian man firing over from 25 yards.
Paul McGowan saw a weak shot saved by Smith before Kostadin Gadzhalov went off with a shoulder injury, with Hartley suggesting after the game it could be a couple of weeks before the Bulgarian might feature again.
Dene Shiels and Thomson had efforts fly past the woodwork before Smith pulled off a stunning stop to deny Stewart from close range just before the interval.
Five half-time substitutions put Dundee back on top and Rory Loy should have put the Dark Blues ahead from a Nick Ross cross.
Gary Fusco then denied sub Hemmings as the midfielder cleared a shot off the line with Smith beaten.
Thomson and Shields both had chances before Thomson netted from close range on 71 minutes, David Mitchell managing to get a hand to the shot on its way into the net.
Smith and Mitchell exchanged great blocks from Hemmings and trialist David Weatherston respectively before Craig Johnston almost made it two late in the game following a mazy run.