Dundee derby: Same street, the length of the SPL apart

Separated geographically by only 250 yards, it had been seven and a half years since Dundee and Dundee United met in a competitive fixture.

That made the City of Discovery a hive of anticipation with a massive clamour for tickets.

In the end, 13,538 people crammed into a sardine tin-like Tannadice .

Many United fans weren't too impressed that the Shed end had been handed to the Dees, as it normally is when they, Aberdeen and the Old Firm visit.

Seven years plus may have passed, but tradition remains.

Two-goal Johnny Russell celebrates against Dundee before being sent off

Two-goal Johnny Russell celebrates against Dundee before being sent off

The Dundee players made their traditional short walk down Tannadice Street and into the home of their great rivals.

Underdogs they were, but they were up against a side idle for a week and off the back of a 5-0 reverse in Russia in a Europa League defeat by Dynamo Moscow in their previous match.

Also, United had only won one of the previous 10 Dundee derbies.

The problem Barry Smith and his men have is that they have been thrust into the proverbial deep end with Scottish Premier League football this season.

His squad was tailored for their latest tilt at the First Division before Rangers' demise handed them a dream ticket to the top flight.

The stadium burst into life as the Dark Blue legions matched those in tangerine and the players emerged from the Tannadice tunnel a few minutes late with the Dees in the Shed teasing their hosts with Russian flags.

The sun was beating down on to the park and it looked as though it would shine on the visitors as Nicky Riley spurned a brilliant opportunity early on.

Summarising on BBC Radio Scotland, Jim McInally - who played for both clubs - immediately suggested they would live to regret that.

And so it proved, with Johnny Russell's second and United's third the icing on a cake that the Arabs will be tucking into until the next derby in December.

Russell's howitzer, a show of artistry, as stunning as anything Tannadice will see all season, left Rab Douglas in the Dundee goal helpless as he turned round to see it explode into the net behind him.

The striker is doing his utmost to force himself into the watching Craig Levein's Scotland squad for next month's World Cup qualifying double header.

Dundee goalkeeper Rab Douglas shows his disappointment at Tannadice

Dundee goalkeeper Rab Douglas shows his disappointment at Tannadice

This was a display that also enhanced his reputation in front of the watching scouts, with his later red card doing nothing to diminish his obvious talent.

It was the stuff of dreams by half time for the United faithful, who rubbed their neighbour's noses in it with chants of "SPL? You're having a laugh!"

In truth, Dundee were unfortunate to be behind by such a margin, but it was another lesson that, in the top flight, missed chances can be exploited in the most brutal fashion.

United look like the unit to which we have become accustomed, despite the summer loss of more big names, as they eased to a 3-0 win.

It may be as little as 250 yards between the clubs in the city, but the entire SPL separates the table-topping Tangerines and the Dees, who can now lick their wounds and hope they start scoring soon.