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Dundee Divided

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[media-credit name=”© Brian Doyle | Scotzine.com” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]Unfortunately for the visitors it was a day to forget as the newly promoted Dark Blues were sunk in a convincing manner by the hosts thanks to two strikes from Johnny Russell and a Gavin Gunning opener.

For the highly rated Russell it was a day of mixed emotions as he was harshly given his marching orders for a rash challenge on Stephen O’ Donnell.

However this should not detract from yet another resounding victory for the Terrors against their neighbours, United also having bashed Dundee 3-0 in a pre-season friendly at Dens Park.

For Barry Smith’s men this was a tough lesson in what they can probably expect on weekly basis in the SPL unless they get their act together and quickly.

Three matches into the season and Dundee sit bottom of the table, although it would be perhaps unfair to heap too much pressure on them as they only had one week’s notice they would even be playing top flight football thanks to the dithering of the SPL club chairmen and chief executive Neil Doncaster following the decision to demote Rangers.

With two weeks left before the transfer window shuts Smith will really have to pull out all the stops and utilise his contacts book to the full, as it is abundantly apparent this Dundee squad are no way equipped for life in the top division.

Smith must be just about the only manager in professional football who can hold his pre-match team talk in his club’s home dressing room with Dens Park being only yards from Tannadice.

But whilst the distance between the two clubs grounds is minimal the difference between the strengths of the sides is distant, this was certainly highlighted in the 3-0 scoreline.

It was not always like this of course, it only took the arrival of United’s legendary manager Jim McLean in 1971, before the men from Tannadice began to take over the mantle as the city’s top dogs.

Just under ten years previous it was Dundee who were crowned champions, reaching the semi-finals of the European Cup a year later under the guidance of the other Shankly, Bob.

However the seventies and eighties saw McLean turn the ‘little corner shop club’ into a major force both at home and abroad as along with Sir Alex Ferguson’s Aberdeen, United began to taste success.

1983 was the year in which United claimed the title, a championship win made all the sweeter because it was clinched at Dens Park and only the later to be revealed bribery of a referee stopped them from taking on Liverpool in the 1984 European Cup Final in Rome.

A UEFA Cup Final in 1987 and Scottish Cup wins in 1994 and 2010 have been savoured since, whilst the shame of administration has haunted Dundee supporters on two separate occasions during that period.

And already only three weeks into the season any hopes fans of the Dark Blues will have anything to smile about soon are rapidly diminishing.

Perhaps it is now that Barry Smith and co will be wishing their late invitation to join their neighbours in the SPL was lost in the post.

Written by Robbie Devine

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