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Gardiner questions Morton thrashing

Scot Gardiner, the Dundee chief executive, believes questions would have been asked had Hamilton Academical's extraordinary 10-2 thrashing of Morton cost his club promotion to the Premiership.

Gardiner, right, said promotion was not imperative. Picture: SNS
Gardiner, right, said promotion was not imperative. Picture: SNS

Dundee lifted the title on Saturday courtesy of their 2-1 win over Dumbarton but it could have been a different story had their opponents equalised in the closing stages with the South Lanarkshire club racking up a scoreline that improved their goal difference significantly. As it was, the Dens Park club returned to the top-flight but only after being left to sweat.

Gardiner said: "Our result was probably what I thought it would be before the game. I believed it would be close. You can't take into consideration the ridiculous goings-on at Hamilton but we won and that's all we had to do. Credit to our team for that. That was a ridiculous score, wasn't it? Other people are going to be asking questions - no doubt.

"People will ask how they got a score like that. We don't care now because we won the league. We won the league because we won more games than anyone else. Thankfully, on the day, the victory here meant we finished with more points than anyone else because if it had gone to goals scored or difference I am sure there would have been a lot of people asking questions.

"It is bizarre and there is no one in the game who can say that it's not bizarre. I am even laughing when I say it. It is laughable but it wouldn't have been funny had we not won. We knew about the scoreline. "One of our players, Kevin McBride, was told by one of the Dumbarton players that it was 7-1 and he told him to eff off. Our players had no idea.

"It was worrying in the last few minutes. It was absolutely terrifying! We needed Kyle Letheren to pull off a Gordon Banks save at the end. It looked a goal all the way and had he not done that we would have lost the league to a pub score. If it had happened in South America . . . But the great thing is that it doesn't matter now. I don't care now."

However, Mickael Antoine-Curier, the Hamilton striker who scored four of his side's goals, rejected the suggestion that the game had been easy.

"I don't think they had given up, otherwise they would have just opened the game up," said the former Dundee forward. "But they made it hard for us, they've got to take credit as well. They had a penalty, they scored two great goals. If they had chucked it, they would never have actually scored goals. They would have just played like a friendly game. But today I think the character of the lads was magnificent. From the first minute, we went for it, no looking back, and it paid off with 10 goals. Goals win games. It doesn't matter what."

Gardiner was not the only one with a grievance, though, with Dumbarton angry that they had been denied two penalties by the referee Bobby Madden.

"One was an absolute stonewaller," said Ian Murray, the Dumbarton manager. "I don't know how the referee could have missed it. A full house, Dundee winning the league - make up your own mind."

In the final analysis, though, Dundee will play Premiership football next season and Gardiner believes his players can survive despite the brevity of their most recent stay in the top flight, having been relegated last year following promotion in 2012.

He said: "We don't have any ridiculous ambitions but we don't see why we can't be a very good, very well run competitive football club with a good fan base. We are very solvent but we want to take the business forward by going into the Premiership and sticking there.

"If you can achieve that it changes a lot of things such as commercial opportunities and the type of player you can bring in. If players think you are a yo-yo team they won't commit to you. We have had three-year, five-year and seven-year plans and we have always stated that winning the league in our first year with the new owners was our goal but not the be-all and end-all.

"Don't get me wrong. When the referee was playing injury-time, that he got from goodness knows where, I was shaking. The tension was ridiculous. But to see people in tears of joy made it worth the nervous last few minutes. We have been working on two budgets for about eight weeks now - budget A and budget B.

"We can now rip up B, throw it in the bin, shred it or set it on fire because that was the one where we would be staying in the Championship. Paul [Hartley] has been intrinsically involved since day one on both budgets and we explained to him what we would be able to do in both scenarios. What I would say is that going up was not imperative for this club. It would not have been the end of the world.

"However, if we won the league it was going to allow us to accelerate the plans we had."

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