By Euan Wood

Dundee continue to extend their advantage over Ross County at the foot of the Premiership table with a commanding 3-0 victory over high-flying Motherwell, leaving James McPake’s side level on points with Livingston in 10th. and two points shy of Aberdeen.

Luke McCowan fired the hosts in front midway through the first half, before Danny Mullen doubled Dundee’s advantage minutes. Ryan Sweeney stabbed home a third from close range early into the second half to record a valuable three points in their quest for Premiership survival this season.

With Dundee controlling a comfortable two-goal cushion early into the first half, Graham Alexander’s side were unable to mount a response in the second half.

It was a lively opening period of the game with the hosts creating several early opportunities on goal. Jordan Marshall’s long-range strike sailed into the path of Mullen deep into the Motherwell penalty area, but the striker couldn’t react quick enough to divert the effort towards goal.

The Dee then broke the deadlock on the 20-minute mark. Marshall’s low-driven cross fell kindly to McCowan who skilfully worked his way past Bevis Mugabi and Solholm Johansen before coolly slotting his strike into the bottom right corner to give his side a well-earned advantage.

Dundee then doubled their advantage minutes later. The visitors failed to clear a selection of corners and Charlie Adam’s intelligent pass from the edge of the box was superbly flicked on by McCowan into the path of Mullen who was alert to fire his effort past Kelly into the bottom right corner.

Following a very disappointing first-half display, the visitors left the field to a chorus of boos from an infuriated away support.

Looking for a response in the second half, Graham Alexander’s side started brightly and came agonisingly close to a response when substitute Kevin Van Veen rattled the crossbar from an acute angle deep into the box.

However, Dundee responded with a well-worked free-kick and a third goal to seal all three points in an impressive home display. Adam’s perfectly weighted free kick accurately picked out Lee Ashcroft at the back post who diverted his header across the face of goal, and Sweeney was alive to bundle it home from a yard out.

Here are three things we learned as Dundee bounce back from defeat to Celtic with an inspired performance over Motherwell.

Back to winning ways

James McPake will be delighted with his side’s performance as they respond to their 2-4 defeat at home to Celtic earlier this month with a hard-earned three points over Motherwell. Dundee looked aggressive going forward and posed a real threat to Motherwell throughout. Defensively, McPake’s side stood resolute and nullified any real attacking intent from the visitors. Dundee still need to improve in areas, but improvements from recent games were clearly visible.

A disappointing display

Graham Alexander will be left feeling frustrated by his side’s performance after impressing consistently in recent weeks. Unlike their previous performances against Hearts and their second half demolition of Aberdeen, Motherwell failed to create any real chances or pose any threat to Dundee. Despite a recent string of poor results, the hosts were thoroughly deserving of the three points.

Kelly the hero for Motherwell

Motherwell were extremely fortunate to have not found themselves further behind at full-time and that is largely down to the efforts of Liam Kelly in the Motherwell goal. Kelly made several crucial saves throughout and continues to be a thorn in the side of Scotland manager Steve Clarke who will have to finalise his selection of goalkeepers ahead of the World Cup Playoffs in March.

Dundee: Legzdins, Kerr, Sweeney, Ashcroft, Marshall, Adam, Anderson, McGowan, McMullan, McCowan, Mullen.
Substitutes: Lawlor, Fontaine, Elliot, Panter, Griffiths, Cummings, Lamb.

Motherwell: Kelly, Mugabi, Johansen, Lamie, McGinley, Grimshaw, Slattery, Maguire, Shields, Woolery, Watt.
Substitutes: Fox, O’Donnell, Carroll, Van Veen, O’Connor, Cornelius, Roberts.

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