Michael Gardyne blasted Dundee’s roughhouse tactics and insisted they got what they deserved after his late strike all but condemned them to life in the First Division.
The Dundee United striker accused John Brown’s men of trying to kick them off the park during a volatile derby clash that ended all square.
And Gardyne, who scored a 90th- minute leveller to cancel out Ryan Conroy’s second-half opener, was quick to point the finger of blame at Dens Park manager Brown.
Bomber vigorously defended his approach and applauded his players who came within seconds of ending a nine-year winless streak against their bitter rivals.
Dundee, now 13 points adrift of safety with just seven matches left, had four men booked and Gary Irvine shown a straight red card after 20 minutes.
Irvine was dismissed for a clash with Richie Ryan but Gardyne reckons the Dundee defender should have gone after just 20 seconds for a lunge on Gary Mackay-Steven.
Asked about Dundee’s game plan Gardyne said: “The manager has obviously brought that to them.
“I played with Irvine and he was never a dirty player. But in the last derby he was taking bodies for fun. If that is the way they want to play the game then fair enough. We’ll just keep trying to pass the ball.
“I didn’t really see the sending-off but I saw the two-footed lunge at the start which was a straight red.
“Mackay-Steven took five hits in the first eight minutes.
“The ref could have taken action against Irvine early on and it might have calmed it down.”
Dundee are four matches unbeaten under Brown although following this setback their chances of avoiding the drop are somewhere between nonexistent and extremely slim.
The draw wasn’t an ideal outcome for United either as it still leaves them outside of the top six, albeit level on goal difference with Hibs, with two games before the split.
Gardyne said: “We dug in and got the draw but it’s not ideal.“It’s hard to play against 10 men and they did well but we’re unhappy.
“One point is better than nothing but we wanted three.”
Chasing their fourth derby win of the season, United dominated the opening exchanges and twice went close in the first five minutes.
A timely intervention from Davide Grassi deflected a goalbound Jon Daly effort away for a corner with seconds on the clock and then Rory Boulding fired inches wide after latching on to a Mackay-Steven cross.
The winger was coming in for heavy treatment during the early jousts on a rain-sodden pitch and while ref Bobby Madden wrongly gave Irvine the benefit of the doubt for a bad lunge, the whistler was quick to book James McAllister for a shuddering touchline challenge on Mackay-Steven.
That should have served as a warning but it was one Dundee and their captain didn’t heed.With 20 minutes on the clock Irvine was sent for an early bath after a second reckless challenge.
Madden had no hesitation in reaching for the red card as the full-back appeared to lead with his forearm, catching Ryan on the head as they jostled for a high ball.The decision might have been a tad on the harsh side yet given he went unpunished for that shocking tackle on Mackay-Steven in the first minute he could have no complaints.
The sending-off forced Dundee into a reshuffle with midfielder Nicky Riley sacrificed and Kyle Benedictus replacing Irvine on the right hand side of the defence. But it didn’t halt the flow of cards being brandished to the Dark Blues.
Iain Davidson was next to have his name taken as he scythed down the impressive Stuart Armstrong just before the half hour.
Dundee were constantly under pressure yet somehow managed to weather the storm and make it to the break all square.
They pitched new goalie Steve Simonsen straight into the heat of battle following his arrival last week from Preston on a short-term deal.
The ex-Everton and Stoke keeper, was given the nod ahead of Rab Douglas and repaid the gaffer’s faith with a terrific pointblank block to thwart Mackay-Steven.
However, he could only look on as a stunning diving header from the same player came crashing back off the bar moments later.
Mark Millar also went close with a shot from the edge of the box while at the other end Gary Harkins fizzed a decent effort just shy of the post on the stroke of half-time.
After the interval there was precious little in the way of decent football but the card count kept rising with Millar cautioned for a trip on McAlister then Benedictus was shown a yellow for yet another foul on Mackay-Steven.
Then completely against what little play there was Dundee took the lead in 67 minutes.
Brian Easton, who was terrific all afternoon, provided the assist with a surging run up the left and a perfect ball to Conroy.
His first touch with his back to goal was impressive but his turn and shot into the top corner past Radoslaw Cierzniak was worthy of winning any derby.United continued to huff and puff as they searched for an equaliser but there was a lack of conviction in their play as Dundee defended like their SPL lives depended on it.
Still, the home team did have chances through Ryan Gauld and Daly but again Simonsen was up to the task, performing two more top-drawer stops.
It looked like his efforts and those in front of him were going to be enough. However, football can be the cruellest of games at times and in the final minute Dundee were agonisingly denied.
Sub Gardyne got himself on the end of Daly’s knockdown to volley into the roof of the net.
The United fans and players went delirious. The Dundee contingent just looked utterly distraught.
Source: Dundee United Mad