Dundee gave themselves a cinch Premiership lifeline this evening after defeating Hibs 3-1 at the Kilmac Stadium.
A disappointing evening for us started with an early goal from veteran Niall McGinn that set the tone for the game in a match the home side could ill afford to lose.
James Scott’s first goal for the club ensured we were level going into the interval however we survived what appeared to be a harsh decision to disallow a Josh Mulligan goal for offside that would have restored the hosts’ advantage.
Dundee came again after the break with Mulligan finally getting his name on the scoresheet on 67 minutes before a screamer from Charlie Adam in the dying embers ensured Dundee took all three points.
Caretaker Manager David Gray made three changes from the side held at home by Aberdeen on Saturday.
Rocky Bushiri, Lewis Stevenson and Scott all returned to the starting line-up. Paul Hanlon missed out through injury whilst Jake Doyle-Hayes and Elias Melkersen dropped to the bench.
For Dundee, tonight was win or bust. Anything other than three points would confirm relegation to Scotland’s second tier.
The home side went into the game still searching for their first win under new boss Mark McGhee and they got off to the perfect start when they opened the scoring after just three minutes.
Jordan Marshall won possession from Harry Clarke just inside our half and immediately released Zak Rudden on the angle of the penalty box. Matt Macey got a strong hand to deny the striker however, McGinn was on hand to sweep in the rebound ahead of Bushiri.
After suffering such a disappointing opening to the match, we rallied and set about getting ourselves back on level terms.
Our first effort came after Ewan Henderson and Clarke combined to find Scott, the striker showed clever footwork to evade a sliding defender before his snapshot was saved by goalkeeper, Harry Sharp.
Clarke was involved again moments later rising above two Dundee defenders to reach Josh Doig’s floated delivery however, under pressure, he was unable to guide his header on target.
After a surging run from Bushiri was ended by a foul from Mulligan on the edge of the area we had a shooting opportunity from the free kick with Henderson drawing a save from Sharp.
A goal was coming, and it duly arrived when Scott collected a pass from Joe Newell before rolling Jordan McGhee and slotting the ball under Sharp from a tight angle.
It was Scott’s first goal for the Hibees and he deserved it for a clever bit of individual skill and a composed finish.
A draw was no good to the hosts and they attempted to restore their lead when McGinn struck an ambitious free kick from distance that was gathered comfortably by Macey.
On 36 minutes Dundee went close to scoring when Cammy Kerr’s cross from the right deflected off Josh Campbell and looped over the back-peddling Macey before dropping fortuitously wide of the far post.
From the resultant corner kick, McGinn’s whipped delivery was headed goalward by McGhee but straight at Macey who saved easily.
Dundee were ramping up the pressure and had the ball in our net when Mulligan headed in McGinn’s free kick off the underside of the crossbar only to have his celebrations prematurely ended by what appeared a harsh offside flag.
Having survived that let off we finished the half strongly with Doig and Campbell having strikes at goal without testing Sharp in the Dundee goal.
There were no changes during the interval and we had a couple of early opportunities with Scott heading just wide from Paul McGinn’s cross before McGinn brought out a save from Sharp after sliding in to meet Henderson’s near post corner kick.
We then had a flurry of corner kicks with Ryan Porteous coming within a whisker of putting us ahead as Joe Newell’s delivery was deflected over his crossbar by Kerr.
On 66 minutes Dundee scored once again and this time Mulligan’s effort counted. McGinn and Marshall linked on the left and from the latter’s hanging cross Luke McCowan headed back across goal to Mulligan who could not miss from point-blank range.
Dundee had the bit between their teeth now and as the game entered its final 20 minutes they twice saw efforts cleared off the goal-line as Clarke and then Campbell kept us in the game.
McGhee’s men were on top and pushing hard for a third goal which Rudden should have provided with a free shot from 12 yards that he dragged wide of goal.
On 77 minutes a wonderful delivery from substitute Adam almost picked out the run of McCowan at the back post and was just beyond the reach of the stretching substitute.
Dundee should have put the game beyond us and those misses ensured a nervous finale for the home supporters who knew an equaliser would relegate them.
The nerves of the home fans however were eased with four minutes remaining as Adam smashed an unstoppable thunderbolt from distance beyond Macey.
Dundee: Sharp, Kerr, Sweeney, McGhee, Marshall, Byrne (Adam 61’), Mulligan, McMullan (McCowan 61’), McGinn, Anderson, Rudden (Fontaine 94’). Substitutes not used: Welsh, McGowan, Chapman, Robertson, Daley-Campbell.
Hibernian: Macey, McGinn, Porteous (Doyle-Hayes 74’), Bushiri, Clarke, Stevenson, Campbell (Melkersen 73’), Newell, Doig, Henderson (Jasper 61’), Scott. Substitutes not used: Dabrowski, Aiken, Hauge, Laidlaw, McGregor, Delferriere.
Referee: Craig Napier.