Match ends, Dundee 1, Kilmarnock 1.
Dundee 1-1 Kilmarnock
Dundee marked their return to Scottish top flight football by sharing the spoils with Kilmarnock.
Former Rugby Park playmaker Gary Harkins won, then converted, a penalty to put Dundee ahead.
It was a lead that would last less than 10 minutes thanks to a superb Craig Slater free-kick.
Dundee peppered the Killie goal in the second half but were denied what would have been a deserved victory by the excellent goalkeeping of Craig Samson.
Far from their last brutal foray in the top league, when a reluctant Dundee replaced the doomed Rangers at the 11th hour, manager Paul Hartley completed his transfer business early in the summer.
The Dees unfurled the Championship flag before kick-off, with retired former captain Gavin Rae helping do the honours after guiding the team last season.
Hartley does not think finishing in the top six is beyond Dundee, with a pre-season win over Manchester City helping to fuel such belief.
And the Dens Park side began in positive fashion, with forward Paul McGowan having a couple of attempts before crossing for Greg Stewart to head wide.
Kilmarnock, who signed left-back Chris Chantler before the match, then threatened themselves when a Josh Magennis header was tipped past a post brilliantly by Kyle Letheren, who spent three years at Rugby Park.
But it was the Premiership new boys who struck first. Harkins was barged in the box by Mark Connolly and referee Steven MacLean pointed straight to the spot. Harkins took the kick himself and dispatched it low to Samson's left.
Kilmarnock tried to respond and the lively Tope Obadeyi smashed a shot off the underside of the bar when he really should have scored.
The match was being played at a frenetic pace, though, and the Ayrshire men levelled matters.
James McPake's rash challenge brought down Obadeyi on the edge of the box and Slater curled the resultant free-kick into the net beautifully, though Letheren's positioning was suspect.
The pace dropped around the half-hour, with McPake leaving the field for almost five minutes after a head knock.
Dundee were almost back in front 15 seconds into the second half when a Harkins run and shot ending with a Samson save.
Twice, McGowan - who looks a shrewd signing and was a constant menace - did similar but with the same outcome.
A long punt caused Letheren many more problems than it should have, the goalkeeper missing the ball completely, but Obadeyi did likewise with the goal and the danger passed.
The hosts were the dominant force for much of the third quarter, with Kilmarnock limited to counter attacking.
The introduction of Alexei Eremenko sparked some life into the visitors as they tried to get out of their own half.
But Samson was the busier keeper, saving well from Luka Tankulic, Harkins and McGowan.
He also saw a free-kick from substitute Peter MacDonald smash off his crossbar as Kilmarnock escaped with a point.
- 11FerrySubstituted forMcAlisterat 75'minutes
- 21TankulicSubstituted forWightonat 88'minutes
- 15StewartSubstituted forMacDonaldat 77'minutes
- 2BarbourBooked at 85mins
- 29PascaliBooked at 90mins
- 19SlaterBooked at 77minsSubstituted forClinganat 81'minutes
- 10JohnstonSubstituted forEremenkoat 66'minutes
- Steven McLean
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Dundee 1, Kilmarnock 1.
Peter MacDonald (Dundee) hits the bar with a right footed shot from very close range.
Manuel Pascali (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card.
Peter MacDonald (Dundee) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Mark Connolly (Kilmarnock).
Attempt missed. Sammy Clingan (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.
Attempt missed. Gary Harkins (Dundee) right footed shot from very close range is too high.
Kevin Thomson (Dundee) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Sammy Clingan (Kilmarnock).
Attempt missed. Gary Harkins (Dundee) header from the centre of the box misses to the right.
Substitution, Dundee. Craig Wighton replaces Luka Tankulic.
Jim McAlister (Dundee) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Manuel Pascali (Kilmarnock).
Attempt saved. Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Attempt missed. Jim McAlister (Dundee) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.
Ross Barbour (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card.
Attempt saved. Gary Harkins (Dundee) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Attempt saved. Luka Tankulic (Dundee) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Substitution, Kilmarnock. Sammy Clingan replaces Craig Slater.
Substitution, Dundee. Peter MacDonald replaces Greg Stewart.
Craig Slater (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card.
Jim McAlister (Dundee) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Craig Slater (Kilmarnock).
Substitution, Dundee. Jim McAlister replaces Simon Ferry.
Attempt missed. Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.
Attempt saved. Gary Harkins (Dundee) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by James McPake.
Substitution, Kilmarnock. Alexei Eremenko replaces Chris Johnston.
Paul McGinn (Dundee) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Chris Johnston (Kilmarnock).
Tope Obadeyi (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Kevin Thomson (Dundee).
Corner, Dundee. Conceded by Lee Ashcroft.
Attempt saved. Paul McGowan (Dundee) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Foul by Luka Tankulic (Dundee).
Chris Chantler (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt missed. Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner.
Attempt missed. Luka Tankulic (Dundee) header from the centre of the box misses to the right.
Corner, Dundee. Conceded by Craig Samson.