Dundee 2-2 St Johnstone

By Alasdair LamontBBC Scotland at Dens Park

Ten-man Dundee staged a plucky comeback to earn a deserved point in John Brown's first game as manager.

Despite a promising opening half-hour, they fell behind to a Steven MacLean header but levelled through John Baird.

St Johnstone seemed destined for victory when Dundee had Declan Gallagher sent off and Dave Mackay curled home the resultant free-kick.

But in the dying moments, substitute Mark Stewart smashed the ball past Alan Mannus to level the match.

On balance Brown's men were worth the point and will feel they might have won it had they been able to keep 11 men on the park.

Despite the media hubbub surrounding Brown's appointment and the supposed supporter discontent, there were no audible rumblings from the home fans as the teams emerged.

Brown stood, dressed in a charcoal suit, at the edge of his technical area, occasionally barking instructions as his side earned the upper hand in the opening stages.

Dundee interim manager John Brown
Interim boss Brown was taking charge of Dundee for the first time

Gary Harkins flashed a header wide before Mannus leapt to his left to push a Ryan Conroy free-kick away, with the ball looking destined for the top corner.

Baird fired wide from the edge of the box, Nicky Riley headed straight at Mannus and the keeper then spilled another Conroy free-kick only to recover sufficiently to prevent Baird from knocking in the rebound.

Given the season Dundee have been having, it was perhaps little surprise that St Johnstone opened the scoring very much against the run of play after 35 minutes.

A low drive by Paddy Cregg ricocheted off the knee of Rab Douglas, flying high into the air. When it came down, MacLean was first to it to nod into the net as Douglas struggled to regain his positioning.

Dundee's luck was out again moments later as Harkins' shot came back off the base of Mannus's right-hand post.

But they were at last rewarded when a Conroy corner from the right was flicked on at the near post by Lewis Toshney, leaving Baird to tap in the equaliser.

The home side initially found chances harder to come by after the break, but around the hour-mark they forced Mannus to make three excellent saves.

First, he was quickly off his line to smother the ball to deny Harkins a wonderful individual goal, then he showed quick reactions to keep out Toshney's close-range shot and he narrowed the angle well to thwart Conroy, who should probably have scored following a wonderful pass from the outstanding Harkins.

In a pivotal 60 seconds though, Dundee were reduced to ten men - Gallagher shown a straight red card for pulling back MacLean as he bore down on goal - before Mackay sent a superb free-kick past the flailing arm of Douglas and into the net.

That double-blow had the bottom side reeling and Saints could have had a third as Liam Craig, MacLean and Gregory Tade all went close.

But with the home fans seemingly resigned to another defeat, Stewart picked the ball up behind the St Johnstone defence and fired fiercely past the keeper.

While it's not a result that will keep Dundee in the Scottish Premier League, they showed some of the character, spirit and quality their manager has demanded of them.

A similar performance at the weekend would make for an intriguing Scottish Cup tie against their city rivals United.