Seven days after the sacking of club legend Barry Smith, one of the most turbulent weeks in Dundee’s chequered history finally came to an end last night at Dens Park.
To their credit, considering everything that had occurred off the pitch recently, the home players produced a brave, battling performance to snatch a point with a 2-2 draw against St Johnstone on new interim boss John Brown’s managerial debut for the club.
The Perth side took a first-half lead through Steven MacLean but Dundee equalised just before half-time, with John Baird netting.
However, the game turned on its head in the second half when home centre-half Declan Gallagher was given his marching orders by referee Willie Collum.
Saints added insult to injury when skipper Dave Mackay scored from the resultant free-kick with an absolute screamer past Rab Douglas, who was making his 300th appearance for the Dark Blues.
Then, just seconds before the game entered stoppage time, substitute Mark Stewart popped up with a last-gasp goal to ensure Dundee enjoyed at least a share of the spoils.
Brown praised his side for battling back to draw the game after having a man sent off.
He said: “We deserved to get something out of the game even with 10 men. The points gap is such I have said to the players that we are going to go for it.
“We got two goals tonight so hopefully that will give the lads a bit of confidence.
“I thought the referee had a good game and it was definitely a sending off. Big Gall will learn from that experience.
“Considering the week the boys have gone through, the spirit has been fantastic.
“They are hungry guys who want to make their way in the game.”
Brown added: “There is not a great deal wrong here.”
Dundee now face near neighbours United on Sunday in the crunch Scottish Cup quarter-final and Brown insists his players will be up for the challenge.
He added: “We are ready for anything. We are not frightened of anybody. United are a good team. I saw them at Motherwell and they have some good players but it will be 11 v 11.
“I am really proud of the lads tonight.”
St Johnstone boss Steve Lomas lamented what he termed a “missed opportunity”.
He said: “That was very much two points dropped. It can be a cruel game sometimes. We should have killed them off by scoring or through just being professional.
“Ultimately when you don’t kill it off, even against 10 men, then the other team gets a chance. It was a little bit fortuitous but they got it and stuck it away so it’s a missed opportunity.”
For more from Dens, including a full match report, see Thursday’s Courier or try our new digital edition.