Late in the Day

When you go into injury time a point up on the teams above you but finish it a point further behind then it’s tempting to conclude that some higher power wants you relegated at all costs.

Barring a miracle of Piers Morgan-not-being-a-fanny-about-something proportions, Dundee are down and the six points dropped in stoppage time since the end of January is a major factor in their demise. Our tendency to boot ourselves in the Ian McCalls at the very last moment has been as unerring as it is painful.

Hollow Little Reign

If only Dieng hadn’t sliced the ball straight to an opponent in the 91st minute at Hamilton.

If only Miller had put his laces through that penalty in the 94th minute v Killie.

If only Woods had put the ball into touch rather than attempting a blind, round-the-corner pass in the 96th minute against Celtic.

If only Horsfield had made some kind of attempt to stop the cross in the 95th minute at Motherwell.

Auntie, balls, uncle etc. The fact of the matter is that we didn’t do any of these things. Was that down to confidence? Judgement? Fitness? Nerve? Will to win? Ability? A bit of all of the above? Whatever we lack, St Mirren and Hamilton have more of and each point they bite and scratch their way to takes us closer to the abyss.

With these late collapses contributing to a record so appalling that it threatens to rehabilitate his predecessor, we are surely now in the time-added-on part of the Jim McIntyre era. In fairness, he inherited an absolute mess from Neil McCann and the timing and circumstances of his appointment caused issues from the outset. Trying to overhaul an entire squad in four weeks was a monumental task but he could hardly have wished for better backing from the club’s owners as he attempted to do it. Two mini-revivals seem a long time ago now.

In delivering what amounted to a pre-emptive vote of confidence in his manager prior to the Aberdeen game last month, John Nelms insisted “the data shows he is the best person to lead Dundee”. Those words have proved an albatross round his neck since because, whatever way you look at it – bottom of the league, nine defeats in a row, a record-low win rate – the data is not kind to either the Dundee gaffer or the Managing Director who quoted it in his defence.

 

I Should Coco

This week’s club statement, designed to address recent press stories, social media rumours and letters from fan groups, deviated from the Nelms’ widely derided pre-Aberdeen programme notes. Three defeats on, faith in the manager seems to have waned at boardroom level. Not only was McIntyre not referred to by name, there was no talk of him being the man for the job. Instead, results had been “beyond disappointing” and the manager “is judged on the players he brings in, the tactics he employs…we have high expectations of him.” If you were Jim McIntyre reading that you would hardly be inclined to consolidate into your current workplace pension.

The other substantial part of the statement (unless, of course, pie provenance of pies or beer festivals are dealbreakers for you) was confirmation that FPS remain committed to the club for the foreseeable future. You don’t need to be particularly enamoured with the owners of our club or the way it is run to realise that the ‘Nelms Out’ shouts growing in prominence of late are counter-productive.

The reality of our situation is that Nelms’ close friend and business partner Tim Keyes is subsidising hefty losses each year in the Premiership, where income is much, much higher than where we are headed. Our plight is not solely the fault of McIntyre, McCann or any other individual but the accumulation of years of bad decision-making. FPS must ultimately shoulder responsibility for where we find ourselves but the tap being turned off suddenly would not only cripple our chances of escaping the Fundesliga any time soon but prove an existential threat to the club.

We need our owners to learn from their mistakes and for changes in the way the club is run to take place. In the absence of any alternatives, what we don’t need to do is chase away a group who may have got much wrong but who have done so in the pursuit of what we all want.

As one of the most traumatic campaigns in the club’s history creeps towards the full time whistle, humility and pragmatism is needed on all sides, not another self-inflicted hammer blow.

Conspiracy theory collapses before end of injury time

A conspiracy theory alleging rabid anti-Irishness among Dundee’s stewarding community was discredited before referee Bobby Madden blew the full time whistle at Dens Park on Sunday.

Sky Sports viewers watched on as a Celtic supporter jumped an 8-foot drop to chase after a tricolour that stewards had pulled down seconds before.

The Celtic twitterati were quick to dismiss Dundee MD John Nelms’ claim that the flag was removed for obscuring an advertising board paid for by one of the club’s sponsors and posted images of a Rangers banner draped over the same spot earlier this season.

This appeared to be incontrovertible evidence of high-level collusion before further footage showed the offending Rangers flag was in fact removed minutes after the original picture was taken.

In all, the theory lasted almost as long as the injury time referee Madden added on at the end of Sunday’s game.

Choosing to ignore the fact other Irish flags were clearly on display at Dens Park without causing controversy, blogger and professional grievance merchant Martin Moore hit out at all involved, saying, ‘Normally I just analyse Sevco’s finances in forensic detail but I was inspired to write about this blatant anti-Irish racism. It was no coincidence that it happened on St Patrick’s Day.

‘Nelms says this was only done because the flag was obscuring an advertising board but he would say that because he’s from Texas and they have the KKK there.’

Professor Glen Dingies, of the Institute for Futba Studies, said, ‘There is a clear causal link between paranoia and supporting the Old Firm. Everyone knows the stewards at Dens are heavy-handed but, quite frankly, Ayr United and Falkirk fans are treated by them worse than Celtic or Rangers’ ever will.

‘With respect to the injury time played, it is highly unusual to see Celtic supporters back a referee rather than claiming a Masonic conspiracy against them. It’s almost as if they just see and hear what they want.’