Yesterday Dundee fell further behind at the bottom of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, although the reality of how they got there will likely have become lost somewhere down that 11-point gap which separates them from the rest.
This draw at Hibernian failed to deliver on the promise that the Dens Park side had initially shown. The result might have been enough to interrupt a run of four straight defeats but rather than feeling they took something from the game, the point will feel devalued for Dundee, given the sense of disappointment that came with it.
Barry Smith's side would have felt an undue pressure ahead of their trip to Easter Road, an earlier kick-off in Paisley bringing news that Ross County had scored four times and opened up a larger margin between themselves and the Tayside club. County, for their part, must have hoped their result would smother any lingering hopes their lowly rivals might have had of retaining their place in the top flight.
Any such ambition seems fragile given Dundee's form – their last league win came in November, against Hibs – but they will have taken succour from their performance yesterday against a side that is able to entertain thoughts of reaching Europe this season. Dundee, in fact, took the lead after just eight minutes; Colin Nish turning the ball into the path of Steven Milne, who duly teed up John Baird to finish low into the net.
It must have felt like a reward for their ambition; Smith having made a bold selection when he named four forwards in his starting XI. Three of them combined to engineer their goal and they persisted to unnerve Hibs, with Milne thwarted by a solid save by Ben Williams and Nish's lob landing just past the far post later in the first half.
"We went and were positive," said the manager. "We had a lot of positive-thinking players there and I think it worked. We had a few chances when we could have won the game, in both the first half and after the break."
Yet it remains unfortunate for a team anchored at the bottom of the league table that even when they make progress they do not actually get them anywhere. They would be reined in by a free-kick from Leigh Griffiths four minutes after the break, the on-loan Wolverhampton Wanderers striker clipping the ball past Rab Douglas from 25 yards and low into the net. The strike marked his 15th goal of the campaign and underlined the importance of extending his loan spell until the end of the season.
His celebration was muted, having served Dundee earlier in his career, and he was kept quiet in the other sense too, by the quality of his former side's defending. Many may wish that the hush could be extended to cover his use of social media, but on the pitch Hibs have grown to rely on Griffiths feeling free to express himself. His most notable contribution in the first half yesterday, though, came when he tugged a pass behind the on-rushing David Wotherspoon just before the break.
Hibs were enlivened by his goal shortly after the half-time break, even if a second was never likely to follow. Douglas was able to hold another Griffiths free-kick but it was the other goalmouth that held the attention. Declan Gallagher flicked a header to the feet of Milne but Williams parried his stabbed shot before the Hibs goalkeeper was made to throw himself into the path of a prodded pass from Nish.
Pat Fenlon was spoken to later by referee Craig Charleston as he grew increasingly frustrated but the Hibs manager was more disappointed with the performance of his players.
"Dundee started far better than us and we were poor in the first half," said Fenlon. "When you are in the position they are there is not much left to lose and they didn't come and sit in, so they deserve credit for that. But we were poor."
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