Before the match, the players had gone into a huddle for the second match in a row and then at the end, every member of the team, alongside Barry Smith and his coaches, made a point of heading towards the 1000 plus away support that stood to applaud their heroes. The nineties brought more years in second tier wilderness with a Centenary Cup win in 1990 and two First Division titles in 1992 and 1998 and another League Cup Final as a First Division club, where they lost 2-0 to Aberdeen at Hampden. By then however Rangers had gone into administration on Valentine’s Day and the press started to hint that second in the First Division may be good enough for promotion should Rangers liquidate. Another run of only one defeat in nine in February / March saw Dundee propel up the league but their poor early season form meant that they never really put pressure on St Johnstone and Partick at the top. The following week there was a carnival atmosphere at Dens as almost 8000 fans came out to salute their heroes against Partick Thistle. During pre-season, Chisholm had a number of players on trial, training with the squad and on the eve of the new campaign, deals were completed with Nicky Riley, Stephen O’Donnell and Gary Irvine.
Scotland caps: 22 (five while at Dundee), 12 goals, Dundee appearances: 190 (1957-64), 169 goals. I’ve had a lot of good feedback from people, lots of positive comments – don’t think we’ve had a negative one yet, to be honest.”. The man who has won more caps as a Dundee player than anyone else, classy right-back Hamilton was a key member of the league-winning side of 1962 and made his Scotland debut the same season. Dundee would finish the league in sixth place, 24 points ahead of bottom, 9 points ahead of the play-offs and the players deserved the applause for everything they had done in adversity, giving their all and for playing a huge, huge part in saving the club. On the field, Dundee showed a gritty determination and fighting spirit to retain their top flight status and by the end of the season, The Dee finished in fifth place, their highest league position for twenty-five years and never bettered since they were Scottish champions in 1962.

The return of a former hero however changed the fortunes on the pitch when Gavin Rae rejoined the club seven years after leaving for Rangers to raise much needed cash during the first administration. By then Dundee had survival in their sights and on Easter Saturday travelled up to Dingwall where victory would ensure not only that Dundee would avoid bottom spot but also ninth place which would have put Dundee into a relegation play-off. It left Dundee on minus eleven points, bottom of the league and in a state of shock.

Over the next few months the lead repeatedly changed hands between Dundee and Hamilton with Falkirk also on their tales and after a valiant 1-1 draw with Hamilton at New Douglas Park and a convincing 4-0 home win over Cowdenbeath at Dens, the Dark Blues were in pole position with just three games left. Dundee had been unlucky throughout the season with goalkeeping injuries to Robert Douglas and Tony Bullock and veteran goalkeeping coach Bobby Geddes had already featured on the bench five times before Christmas.

Amidst all the chaos and conjecture, Dundee actually had a game to play twenty-four hours later at Stirling Albion and new boss Barry Smith had the job of lifting the thirteen senior players who were left on the books. “There was talk it was intentional – there was a player in the paper saying that’s three times that stand has gone up in flames! For once ‘second was somewhere.’. A run of four home games in a row allowed Dundee to stay ahead of Falkirk in second spot and when they beat the Bairns at Dens in early April, it all but ensured that Dundee would finish as runners-up.
Alex Hamilton. “It was a big win though not a big score and hopefully that will inspire the players for the future and prove to them that we are a good side when we do the right things.”. With cost spiralling out of control and no tangible league or cup success to match Dundee’s stylish football Bonetti left in 2002 to be replaced by Jim Duffy who took over for the second time.

It was simply magnificent as Dens reverberated with joy. The Dee however couldn’t make their extra man count and after an hour Queens drew level through Bob Harris and managed to hold on for a point. Dundee appearances: Club record 446 (1945-1961), 24 goals. By early February Dundee were up to third, six points behind leaders Ross County who had two games in hand but had lost Gavin Rae to his hometown team Aberdeen.

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While the early fifties brought cup glory, the rest of the decade would see dismay for the Dark Blues in the country’s main competition notably with a three nil defeat in the season 1953/54 by C Division Berwick Rangers. ‘Sir’ Bobby as he was known by the fans was a regular at Dens on match days until he had recently taken ill and the club honoured him with a minute’s applause before the game.


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