Dundee started life back in the First Division (or the Championship, as it’s now called) with a bump as they lost 4-3 to Queen of the South. While it’s true that the Doonhamers have been tipped by some to challenge for the title despite having only just been promoted, and even taking into account it was their “flag day” and our torrid record at Palmerston, the manner of the defeat was a harsh slap of reality to many Dees. Although some of the cracks papered over thanks to two late consolation goals for the Dark Blues, losing 3 goals in the space of 11 second-half minutes has highlighted that this league will be no walkover for us.
Part of me is actually quite glad that we lost in the manner we did. A season is 36 games long, and I remain confident that over the whole season we’ll have the quality and consistency to result in our own “flag day” next year. However, crashing and burning at the first hurdle will hopefully remove any lingering hints of complacency around Dens. The tag of favourites always weighs heavily around any team’s necks, and our defeat will hopefully act as a wake-up call to all the fans who think that all we have to do is turn up to win, which will in turn relieve some of the pressure fans inevitably bring to bear on the team. Some of the online reaction to our defeat was hysterical, but after the red mist descended I think most fans recognised that the Championship will be no walk-over.
Now that the investment bid from FPS has been accepted by fans and the Board, the next step will be for John Brown to be given some funds to boost the team’s tilt at promotion. All of the public statements from the Club have emphasised that this is not going to be a repeat of the Marrs or Melville era, and that money will be spent prudently both on and off the pitch. As has been shown by Terry Butcher’s Inverness, very capable players can be found for very little money, and with John Brown’s contacts the fans can only hope that some great value diamonds can be found in the rough of the transfer market before the window shuts. Given that players of the calibre of Tom Hateley, Marius Zaliukas and Paddy McCourt – not that any of them would be within our budget – are still free agents, it’s clear that with the right contacts and a little bit of luck we can find the experienced centre-back that would set off what is already a strong and capable squad.
John Brown has been quoted in the press as saying he’s been pleased with the players’ response in training to the defeat. Here’s hoping that our first league game at home this weekend against Alloa can restore some pride, get 3 points on the board and make sure that the defeat at Palmerston works out as a blessing in disguise.