Smith ready for all-comers
The chant from Dundee's fans was "Can we play you every week?" but Barry Smith just wants his team to enjoy wins against the rest of the SPL. Six of Dundee's seven points gained so far this season have come against Hearts, and Saturday's 1-0 home win ended a run of six consecutive league defeats suffered since they were victorious by the same scoreline in Edinburgh. Matt Lockwood's powerful free-kick from the edge of the Hearts penalty area arrowed into the top corner and proved to be the only goal of the game. Although the hosts wasted four other clear-cut chances to bury their opponents, they held their nerve to preserve the victory. "It was a great team performance again," said Smith. "The players do work hard and a key thing was that there were not many mistakes today, and when there were mistakes they were covered up by team-mates. That will be pivotal in what we are trying to do here. "It is unfortunate for them that we've beaten them twice but we want to be picking up three points against all teams." For Hearts manager John McGlynn it was a case of deja vu as his players were punished for mistakes similar to those they made when the sides met in early September. Throughout the match Hearts dominated possession, but only in the final 10 minutes did they appear a viable threat to the opposing goal. Dundee started with the intention of sitting deep, defending as a team and looking to exploit their opponents whenever an opportunity arose, which occurred when Marius Zaliukas went barrelling into the back of Gary Irvine on the edge of his own penalty area. "It's the second time we've given Dundee all the encouragement they've needed." McGlynn said. "Again we've started slack and given them encouragement to attack and find the early goal, so they then have something to fight for. It means then they can stay tight and get their head on the ball, and to be fair to them they did that very well." One player who required no encouragement was Lockwood. The left-back, who was only starting after an injury to Brian Easton last week left the defender out of action for up to eight weeks, stepped up and converted his chance with a confidence that eluded team-mates in front of goal for the rest of the match. The more desperate the visitors became, the more likely Dundee looked capable of adding to their lead. But Colin Nish, John Baird and Declan Gallagher all passed up excellent second-half opportunities which would have averted a tense finale that saw Zaliukas miss a fine chance for Hearts. "I thought we created as many chances as we had in any game this season," said goalscorer Lockwood, "but our problem this season has been getting that first goal. "Over the years I've hit a few like that. It was in the perfect position for me and I fancied that it was going to go in, but then it was good that we managed to hang on and get the 1-0 win." Dundee now stand five points adrift at the foot of the table. The situation improved yesterday but Dundee need to keep picking up points. "You look at the league table and it's not nice viewing," Lockwood said. It is embarrassing to be that far adrift at the bottom of the table already. "We've all got the confidence in each other in the dressing room but it's about bringing that out onto the park. We haven't been doing that in recent weeks, but you look at a game like today and it could be the turning point."
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