Scottish Premiership
DundeeDundee1St JohnstoneSt Johnstone0

Dundee 1-0 St Johnstone: Danny Mullen finish earns hosts consecutive league wins

By Nick McPheatBBC Scotland
Danny Mullen goal v St Johnstone
Danny Mullen's (left) third goal in as many games broke the deadlock on 39 minutes

Dundee leapfrogged Tayside rivals St Johnstone after earning back-to-back Scottish Premiership victories for the first time this season.

In a fiercely-contested first half, striker Danny Mullen broke the deadlock with a fine finish on the turn.

Like so often this term, the visitors were blunt in attack but also looked fragile in spells as Dundee pushed for a second after the break.

The result sees James McPake's side go ninth, a place above St Johnstone.

The Perth side are now without a win in four games and have failed to score in eight of their 15 league fixtures.

With just a point separating the sides pre-match, that provided a bit of extra heat to the all-Tayside encounter on a wintry night at Dens Park.

The contest got off to a frantic start, with Chris Kane failing to get a shot away from Jamie McCart's knock down at one end and the St Johnstone backline needing to be on hand to block efforts from Paul McMullan and Luke McCowan at the other.

But after a ding-dong opening, the game hit a bit of a lull before Dundee ramped it up heading towards the interval.

McCowan was again threatening as the winger saw a fine strike from 20 yards come crashing off the woodwork.

The home side made the net ripple with their next effort, however. Paul McGowan fizzed a pass into Mullen on the edge of the box, and he took a touch, turned and finished brilliantly down to Zander Clark's right.

St Johnstone were rattled and almost went in at the break two down when Charlie Adam's strike from range drifted just shy of the far post.

Callum Davidson would have had some choice words at half-time for his below-par side, but they did not show any signs of kicking into life after the interval as Dundee turned the screw.

Mullen had a header tipped over by Clark and watched another strike flash over.

The visitors' only real second-half opening came when Shaun Rooney's cross found Eetu Vertainen, but the Finnish forward's header was parried away by Adam Legzdins.

It was instead Dundee who continued to look the more threatening, as Max Anderson and McMullan had strikes drift wide of either post.

But in the end it was just the one for the hosts, and just one was enough to down a laboured visiting opposition.

Man of the match - Danny Mullen

Danny Mullen
The striker's mobility complements Dundee's pacy frontline, and the ex-St Mirren player is adding goals to his game now with three of his strikes this season coming in his last three games

What did we learn?

It is broken-record stuff to continue lambasting St Johnstone's attacking form, but it simply must improve if Davidson's side are to pull away from the bottom.

The Perth side's nine league goals is the lowest tally in the league - 10 worse off than bottom side Ross County, who they host on Saturday in a massive game.

Consecutive wins for Dundee is vital, as is the back-to-back clean sheets. Since that grim 5-0 defeat at home to County in late October, McPake's side have won three of their last four and kept clean sheets in those victories.

What did they say?

Dundee manager James McPake: "It was going to be a really tough game. We had to roll our sleeves up at times, but the better team won. We could have more comfortable if we took our chances.

"He [Mullen] was exceptional. He's been great for us and I'm delighted for him. He's a joy to work with, he's loving his football. You can see the appreciation from the fans."

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson: "We are bitterly disappointed. It's a tough time for us. We could do things a lot better. We were really organised last season.

"It's about getting back to basics now. You'll go through periods like this all the time. We need to make sure the lads stick together. We have a huge game coming up on Saturday."

What's next?

Both teams are in action on Saturday (15:00 GMT) as Dundee go to champions Rangers and St Johnstone host Ross County.

Player of the match

MullenDaniel Mullen

with an average of 7.90

Dundee

  1. Squad number9Player nameMullen
    Average rating

    7.90

  2. Squad number26Player nameAdam
    Average rating

    7.84

  3. Squad number17Player nameMcCowan
    Average rating

    7.59

  4. Squad number24Player nameAnderson
    Average rating

    7.56

  5. Squad number10Player nameMcGowan
    Average rating

    7.56

  6. Squad number5Player nameSweeney
    Average rating

    7.55

  7. Squad number3Player nameMarshall
    Average rating

    7.53

  8. Squad number18Player nameMcMullan
    Average rating

    7.50

  9. Squad number29Player nameGriffiths
    Average rating

    7.43

  10. Squad number4Player nameFontaine
    Average rating

    7.35

  11. Squad number2Player nameKerr
    Average rating

    7.27

  12. Squad number1Player nameLegzdins
    Average rating

    6.56

St Johnstone

  1. Squad number17Player nameVertainen
    Average rating

    5.75

  2. Squad number1Player nameClark
    Average rating

    5.69

  3. Squad number6Player nameGordon
    Average rating

    5.25

  4. Squad number11Player nameO'Halloran
    Average rating

    5.08

  5. Squad number19Player nameRooney
    Average rating

    4.90

  6. Squad number9Player nameKane
    Average rating

    4.85

  7. Squad number4Player nameMcCart
    Average rating

    4.74

  8. Squad number21Player nameCrawford
    Average rating

    4.58

  9. Squad number18Player nameMacPherson
    Average rating

    4.56

  10. Squad number24Player nameBooth
    Average rating

    4.55

  11. Squad number27Player nameSolomon-Otabor
    Average rating

    4.39

  12. Squad number8Player nameDavidson
    Average rating

    4.34

  13. Squad number26Player nameCraig
    Average rating

    3.62

Line-ups

Dundee

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Legzdins
  • 2Kerr
  • 4Fontaine
  • 5Sweeney
  • 3Marshall
  • 18McMullan
  • 24Anderson
  • 26Adam
  • 17McCowan
  • 10McGowanSubstituted forGriffithsat 76'minutes
  • 9Mullen

Substitutes

  • 16Elliott
  • 20Panter
  • 21Lawlor
  • 29Griffiths
  • 35Cummings
  • 48Lamb

St Johnstone

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 1Clark
  • 19Rooney
  • 6Gordon
  • 4McCart
  • 21Crawford
  • 18MacPherson
  • 8DavidsonSubstituted forCraigat 45'minutes
  • 24Booth
  • 11O'Halloran
  • 17VertainenSubstituted forSolomon-Otaborat 68'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 9Kane

Substitutes

  • 2Brown
  • 3Devine
  • 5Dendoncker
  • 12Parish
  • 25Ambrose
  • 26Craig
  • 27Solomon-Otabor
Referee:
Andrew Dallas
Attendance:
5,196

Match Stats

Home TeamDundeeAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home46%
Away54%
Shots
Home20
Away10
Shots on Target
Home4
Away2
Corners
Home6
Away5
Fouls
Home9
Away14

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Dundee 1, St. Johnstone 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Dundee 1, St. Johnstone 0.

  3. Booking

    Viv Solomon-Otabor (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Viv Solomon-Otabor (St. Johnstone).

  5. Post update

    Cammy Kerr (Dundee) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Attempt missed. Leigh Griffiths (Dundee) left footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Liam Gordon (St. Johnstone).

  8. Post update

    Daniel Mullen (Dundee) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Shaun Rooney (St. Johnstone).

  10. Post update

    Paul McMullan (Dundee) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Post update

    Offside, Dundee. Charlie Adam tries a through ball, but Leigh Griffiths is caught offside.

  12. Post update

    Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Ryan Sweeney (Dundee).

  14. Post update

    Shaun Rooney (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Ryan Sweeney (Dundee).

  16. Post update

    Corner, Dundee. Conceded by Jamie McCart.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Daniel Mullen (Dundee) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left.

  18. Post update

    Attempt missed. Paul McMullan (Dundee) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by Leigh Griffiths.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Cameron MacPherson (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

  20. Post update

    Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Cammy Kerr.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Rangers15113133141936
2Celtic1492332102229
3Hearts1576225141127
4Dundee Utd167451515025
5Motherwell167362024-424
6Hibernian145361718-118
7Aberdeen165381821-318
8St Mirren163851624-817
9Dundee154471527-1216
10St Johnstone15357915-614
11Livingston153481222-1013
12Ross County152581927-811
View full Scottish Premiership table

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