Dundee boss Paul Hartley admitted the sending off of keeper Scott Bain “changed everything” in yesterday’s dramatic derby draw.
The Dark Blues were sitting comfortably at 2-0 in front when the goalie brought down Billy Mckay inside his box in the 50th minute with referee Steven McLean adjudging that Bain had denied the striker a clear goal-scoring opportunity.
The keeper was red carded and Mckay stroked home the resultant penalty past substitute stopper David Mitchell with United scoring late on to take a share of the points.
While the Dark Blues manager was not sure if the official had made the right decision, he was certain the double whammy completely altered the complexion of the game.
When asked what he thought of the frenzied derby, Hartley said: “Exhausting. I thought the game had everything, chances, things that go against you.
“You plan all week on certain situations and then we had two centre-halves coming off injured in the first half.
“Second half we had our goalkeeper sent off and we had to adjust.
“At 2-0 I felt we were comfortable and then that decision changes the game.
“I don’t know if Kevin (Holt) can get round quickly enough. He is on the cover but can he get round quickly enough? I don’t know.
“We were down to 10 men and we had to adjust the team to go to a back four.
“I thought we dealt with it (going down to 10) with the boys putting their bodies on the line. Their attitude was terrific and then just one lapse in concentration has cost us the three points.”
Mitchell was certainly thrown in at the deep end, coming on to make his Dundee debut and while Hartley felt he could have done better at the United equaliser, overall he was happy with the former Stranraer stopper’s contribution.
He said: “I thought he did really well.
“He had to get ready straight away, he doesn’t see that coming.
“But I’ll tell you what, he had some great saves and came for crosses.
“Maybe (at the equaliser) if he just stays as there are too many bodies there . . . but overall my players’ attitude was terrific.
“I thought it was a good game in terms of action for the neutral.
“I’m not so sure if it was good for the managers but I have no complaints from my group.”
The two dropped points could prove crucial in Dundee’s battle for a top-six finish but Hartley insisted that his team can still be sitting in the upper half of the table come the split.
He said: “We think we have to win at least another two games to get in there.
“It has never changed. We just have to try to win as many games as we can.”
Hartley appeared to be involved in a touchline spat with the United back-room staff as the teams left the field at half-time however when asked about the incident, the manager just smiled and said: “It’s great stuff, isn’t it?
“They felt (Greg) Stewart had a kick out and we felt he didn’t. It’s forgotten about.”