Dundee 0-1 Heart of Midlothian
Saturday 9th March 2019, KO 15:00 | Ladbrokes Premiership | Dens Park
Hearts earned a hard-fought victory today at Dens Park as a solitary goal defeated Dundee.
The Jambos emerged with three points thanks to an early Sean Clare strike, poking the ball home after an Arnaud Djoum cross.
In wintry and blustery conditions that eliminated all possibility of attractive football, Hearts held firm and had Bobby Zlamal to thank after two superb saves kept Dundee at bay.
Craig Levein made two changes to the side that earned a replay in Monday’s Scottish Cup quarter final draw with Partick Thistle, as David Vanecek and Callumn Morrison came into the side for Steven MacLean and Ollie Bozanic.
Dundee started the game with the wind at their backs and tried to use it to their advantage by playing long balls in behind. After 6 minutes, that nearly paid dividends when Kenny Miller got in behind after Ben Garuccio misjudged his header. Miller found Andy Dales but Garuccio got back in time to block.
After quarter of an hour, Hearts took the lead with their first attack. When a free kick was cleared, Christophe Berra played Djoum in down the wing, and he cut back inside to play a low ball into the area, which was missed by almost everyone.
The ball appeared to be stuck in the turf as Callumn Morrison and David Vanecek both tried to get to it, but Sean Clare nipped in ahead of everyone else and poked the ball through the legs of Dieng in the Dundee goal to give Hearts the lead.
Dundee responded moments later, when Scott Wright played in Miller, but the veteran forward’s near post effort was saved by the feet of Zlamal in goals. At the other was of the park, the imposing Uche Ikpeazu held off Darren O’Dea to play in Morrison, and Dieng produced a good save to deny the winger.
After that, the first half descended into a battle of very little quality and action until well into the second half, when Dundee had thrown on three more forwards to try and grab an equaliser and they came close twice.
Ikpeazu forced a save out of Dieng after Haring picked out the big striker inside the box, but the Dundee keeper stoppe his effort as his near post.
It was then Zlamal's time to shine. Firstly, a Paul McGowan cross to the back post evaded everyone but Miller who was steaming in at the back post, but Zlamal somehow saved the low header that seemed goal bound, and got the ball away for a corner.
From that corner, the ball broke to John O’Sullivan whose first time volley was athletically palmed away again by Zlamal.
Dundee’s play then descended into more desperation and they were unable to sustain any attacks as Hearts ran out time to earn the three points, taking them level with Kilmarnock in fourth place.
Dundee: Dieng, Ralph, Woods, O'Dea, Wright (J. Curran, 72'), R. McGowan, Robson, Dales (O'Sullivan, 63'), Miller, C. Curran (P. McGowan, 64'), Horsfield. Subs: Parish, Kerr, Kusunga, Hadenius.
Hearts: Zlamal, Souttar, Haring, Berra, Clare (Bozanic, 85'), Djoum, Garuccio, Ikpeazu, Godinho, Vanecek (Wighton, 66'), Morrison (Dikamona, 83'). Subs: Doyle, Lee, Mulraney, Hickey.
Referee: Nick Walsh