A second-half strike from Luke McCowan inflicted Hearts their first defeat of the league season at Dens Park this afternoon, going down 1-0 to Dundee.
Despite fashioning a number of chances, especially in the second 45, the men in maroon were undone by McCowan’s ranged effort from 25-yards on a frustrating afternoon on Tayside.
Hearts made five changes to the team that was narrowly defeated by PAOK at Tynecastle on Thursday night, with Toby Sibbick and Aidan Denholm slotting into the sitting midfield role whilst Kenneth Vargas, Alex Lowry and Yutaro Oda formed the attacking line supporting Lawrence Shankland up top.
Both sides grappled for control in the opening exchanges – a wayward Bakayoko chance, along with a Frankie Kent header over the bar, representing the two sides’ best respective chances in the opening quarter.
In truth, it was Dundee who fashioned the better opportunities in the first 45 overall: Finlay Robertson’s half-volley snapshot towards Zander Clark from the edge of the box after 25 minutes the latest in a stream of promising Dundee moves.
The Dee thought they had claimed the opener on the 32 minute mark when Jordan McGhee forced the ball over the line from close-range, but after furious Hearts appeals – the referee chalked it off due to Zach Robinson being in the offside position.
Whilst far from being a vintage display for the boys in maroon in the first half, the second period was to bring greater fortune. The pack was shuffled at the interval with Cammy Devlin, Nathaniel Atkinson, and Liam Boyce all being introduced to proceedings.
It was a near pitch-perfect start as the game resumed, Boycie playing a key role as the Jambos landed the first punch after 47 minutes – the Northern Irishman’s inviting ball across goal crashing off the knee of a home defender before spilling back off the post.
Moments later, it was Alex Lowry’s turn to have a go – displaying some lovely footwork before dispatching a lofted ball across goal again. This time, Kenneth Vargas was there to receive, and the Costa Rican’s downward header was cleared off the line to the relief of the home support.
Hearts kept carving out the chances, but nothing came off with Dundee taking advantage as the clock struck 65 minutes. A slack pass was gobbled up by Luke McCowan – with the Dark Blues midfielder driving up the park before releasing a rocket from 25-yards past Zander Clark.
The game went on, and even with five minutes of added time, Hearts walked away empty handed.
Dundee: Carson, Kerr, Beck, Shaugnessy, McGhee, Tiffoney (Cameron 65’), Bakayoko, McCowan, Robinson, Robertson (Sylla 75’), Boateng
Subs: Legzdins, Cameron, Lamie, Ashcroft, Mulligan, Reilly, Rudden, Anderson, Sylla
Hearts: Clark, Kent, Kingsley, Shankland, Oda (Boyce 45’), Rowles, Sibbick (Devlin 45’), Denholm (Grant 68’), Offiah (Atkinson 45’), Lowry, Vargas (Tagawa 68’)
Subs: McGovern, Grant, Boyce, Atkinson, Devlin, Halliday, Forrest, Tait, Tagawa