Motherwell ensured that Neil McCann’s Dundee are still bottom of the Scottish Premiership courtesy of a 3-1 win at the Kilmac Stadium at Dens Park.
The game opened reasonably evenly for both sides. The debuting Kenny Miller started upfront alongside Benjamin Källman. Miller’s movement and game intelligence looked as if it would benefit Dundee who have lacked in cutting edge and movement in forward areas.
However, Motherwell soon took control of the first-half. Indeed, the visitors soon began racking up corners. With Dundee pinned into their own half the nerves began to show.
An early free-kick, which Motherwell took quickly, should have proved a wake-up call for the Dundee back line. However, on 27 minutes the Dundee defence almost proved the architects of their own downfall. Genseric Kusunga, back in the starting line-up, played an awkward ball across the edge of the 18-yard box to Josh Meekings. The Dundee skipper was immediately put under pressure by the pass and his touch. Motherwell striker Curtis Main snatched the ball off the defender’s toes and from just inside the box, dragged a shot mere inches wide of Jack Hamilton’s goal.
Dundee did grow back into the half. With just under 10 minutes of the half remaining, a long ball almost put Kenny Miller clean through on Trevor Carson. However, the veteran striker couldn’t bring the ball under enough control to create a chance.
Miller did have the ball in the back of the net after the restart, but the offside flag denied him a debut goal.
Källman’s physicality had caused issues for the Motherwell defenders. In the early stages of the second half, he took advantage of his power to win headers for Dundee. However, to little or no avail.
Calvin Miller replaced Adil Nabi on 57 minutes and the on-loan Celtic player fouled on the edge of the box as he attempted to clear. Gael Bigirmana lined up his free-kick towards Jack Hamilton’s right-hand post. Bigirimana struck the ball with his right foot to see the Dundee wall split which allowed the ball to find its way past Hamilton to make it 2-0 to Motherwell.
Dundee only had to wait three minutes to get a goal back and it was the corner taken by Calvin Miller that found Källman unmarked in the area. Poor defending from Motherwell, but redemption for Calvin Miller who notched up an assist in his first appearance.
10 minutes into the half, substitute Elliot Frear crossed from the left. Kusunga should have cleared. However, the defender slipped and fell. The error allowed Danny Johnson to spin around and fire it home to put Motherwell in the lead.
Dundee failed to capitalise on their best play of the second-half as Paul McGowan worked a ball from the edge of the box to find Jesse Curran. Unfortunately for Dundee, the midfielder could only strike it straight at a grateful Trevor Carson in the Motherwell goal.
Calvin Miller proved a positive introduction for Dundee in the second-half, despite giving away the free-kick for Motherwell’s second. With 10 minutes remaining, Miller created two great chances from out wide. His brilliant left-footed crosses first led to a chance for McGowan, which was blocked by the foot of Carson, and for Källman who headed down at the feet of Carson.
Despite the pressure, the visitors sealed victory with a third goal on 85 minutes. A short free-kick from Bigirimana presented Conor Sammon with a shooting chance. His shot was blocked and fell to inside the area to Allan Campbell. The midfield man smashed the ball into the bottom right corner from 10 yards to leave Dundee bottom with no points to show for their efforts.
Dundee: Hamilton (GK), Kerr, Kusunga, Nabi (C Miller 57), McGowan, Källman, K Miller, Madianga (Ngwatala 63), Meekings (Inniss 44), Curran, Spence.
Subs not used: Parish, Moussa, Mendy, Boyle.
Motherwell: Carson, Johnson (Sammon 68), Hartley, McHugh, Aldred, Campbell, Cadden (Frear 51), Main (Bowman 83), Bigirimana, Tait, Rose.
Subs not used: Gillespie, Taylor-Sinclair, Turnbull, Rodrigues-Gorrin.