Scottish Premiership
Dundee3St Johnstone0

Dundee 3-0 St Johnstone

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Highlights: Dundee 3-0 St Johnstone

Marcus Haber led from the front as Dundee ended St Johnstone's five-game unbeaten run with clinical finishing.

Faissal El Bakhtaoui met a Haber cross at the front post to prod the home side ahead after 15 minutes.

Haber was the creator again as he chested the ball into the path of Kostadin Gadzhalov to extend the lead three minutes before the break.

It was Haber pressuring Steven Anderson for the third after 57 minutes, with the Saints man with the final touch.

The Perth side had arrived at Dens Park hoping for a win that would draw them level with fourth-placed Hearts.

But they came up against a Dundee side that showed why they are now unbeaten at home in five games.

Dundee on fire

The only thing that has been consistent this season about Paul Hartley's Dundee has been their inconsistency.

With four wins, four losses and one draw in their last nine games, it is easy to see why they have struggled to force their way up the table.

But a change of formation, enforced through a combination of injury and illness, certainly paid dividends on a blustery afternoon at Dens Park.

The opening goal came when El Bhaktaoui made a darting run towards the near post, where he connected with Haber's cross.

The home side doubled their advantage before the break when Gadzhalov volleyed home after Haber chested down a free kick into his path.

Saints' tale of woe

St Johnstone had the perceived benefit of a strong wind behind them in the opening 45 minutes, but they failed to cash in whenever they had sight of goal.

Blair Alston came closest with a free-kick from 25 yards out that beat goalkeeper Scott Bain but crashed off the crossbar and Murray Davidson sent a diving header over the upright after a persistent spell of pressure from the Perth side.

Tommy Wright introduced Chris Kane at the break and the striker was denied by a last-gasp block by the excellent Julen Extebeguren at the heart of the Dundee defence.

Upward curve for Hartley

Dundee were playing with a confidence rarely witnessed so far this season and Mark O'Hara showed great tenacity and strength to set up a third for the home side.

Stealing the ball from Davidson around 25 yards from goal, he slipped the ball through to Tom Hateley and his cross into the box was met by Steven Anderson.

The Saints captain could do no more than deflect the ball beyond goalkeeper Zander Clark and into the back of his own goal.

On this evidence, Dundee will head into 2017 with optimism and can look forward to the new year.

Despite their defeat, Saints will no doubt continue to drive forward in the coming months with much to be positive about.

Match reaction

Dundee manager Paul Hartley: "Faissal El Bhaktaoui was terrific. He has had to adjust from two leagues down, where he scored a lot of goals.

"It was never going to be easy for him, but we have been patient and give him a little bit of confidence.

"We had to adjust our shaper today, but we felt with O'Hara, El Bhaktaoui, Haber and Wighton, we could have a real go today with six behind them.

"I think the break is coming at the right time for us.

"It's been a tough start, but if you look at our home form, with 13 points from the last 15, it's been good.

"The players need a break mentally and physically away from the club and maybe away from me for some time."

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright: "The first goal is crucial in most games and it was today again.

"I can't be too critical in terms of how we had the ball as I felt we dominated the ball and created lots of opportunities.

"If we were guilty of anything, it was possibly just that final pass going astray and making the wrong decision.

"Ultimately, we got caught on the counter-attack and we should deal with that better.

"I am looking again at what we have achieved in this calendar year - and win lose or draw today, we have had a magnificent 2016.

"There are many clubs with more resources than we have and we do better than a lot of clubs."

Line-ups

Dundee

  • 1Bain
  • 30KerrBooked at 23mins
  • 26Gadzhalov
  • 16Etxabeguren
  • 3Holt
  • 7Hateley
  • 18McGowan
  • 14O'HaraSubstituted forRossat 74'minutes
  • 20El BakhtaouiSubstituted forWilliamsat 87'minutes
  • 21Haber
  • 33Wighton

Substitutes

  • 9Loy
  • 10Duffy
  • 11Williams
  • 12Mitchell
  • 17Ross
  • 27Curran
  • 51Waddell

St Johnstone

  • 12Clark
  • 19Foster
  • 14Shaughnessy
  • 6Anderson
  • 24Easton
  • 4Alston
  • 18PatonBooked at 41minsSubstituted forWotherspoonat 61'minutes
  • 8Davidson
  • 26CraigSubstituted forKaneat 45'minutes
  • 11SwansonBooked at 90mins
  • 9MacLeanSubstituted forCumminsat 72'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Mannus
  • 3Scobbie
  • 7Millar
  • 10Wotherspoon
  • 22Watson
  • 25Kane
  • 29Cummins
Referee:
Don Robertson
Attendance:
6,492

Match Stats

Home TeamDundeeAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home44%
Away56%
Shots
Home7
Away11
Shots on Target
Home5
Away4
Corners
Home4
Away13
Fouls
Home12
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, Dundee 3, St. Johnstone 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Dundee 3, St. Johnstone 0.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Cameron Kerr.

Corner, Dundee. Conceded by Murray Davidson.

Booking

Danny Swanson (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

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

Foul by Danny Swanson (St. Johnstone).

Attempt missed. Richard Foster (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is too high following a corner.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Cameron Kerr.

Substitution

Substitution, Dundee. Danny Williams replaces Faissal El Bakhtaoui.

Attempt saved. Danny Swanson (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt missed. Paul McGowan (Dundee) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

Attempt missed. Brian Easton (St. Johnstone) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left following a corner.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Kostadin Gadzhalov.

Attempt missed. Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right.

Attempt blocked. Danny Swanson (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Graham Cummins (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Julen Etxabeguren Leanizbarrutia (Dundee).

Delay in match Kostadin Gadzhalov (Dundee) because of an injury.

Tom Hateley (Dundee) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone).

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

Foul by Graham Cummins (St. Johnstone).

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Julen Etxabeguren Leanizbarrutia.

Substitution

Substitution, Dundee. Nick Ross replaces Mark O'Hara.

Attempt saved. Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Dundee) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Graham Cummins replaces Steven MacLean.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Kostadin Gadzhalov.

Foul by Julen Etxabeguren Leanizbarrutia (Dundee).

Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Cameron Kerr.

Tom Hateley (Dundee) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone).

Foul by Tom Hateley (Dundee).

Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Scott Bain.

Attempt saved. Danny Swanson (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. David Wotherspoon replaces Paul Paton.

Foul by Kostadin Gadzhalov (Dundee).

Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic20191054144058
2Rangers2111642821739
3Aberdeen20114535191637
4Hearts2187638261231
5St Johnstone207762524128
6Ross County215882336-1323
7Partick Thistle215792429-522
8Dundee2164112128-722
9Motherwell205692533-821
10Kilmarnock214891635-1920
11Hamilton2121182131-1017
12Inverness CT2137112640-1416
View full Scottish Premiership table

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