Dundee --- Kilmarnock: Report
Dundee --- Kilmarnock: Match Report - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game as it happened.
Stalemate at Dens Park
Dundee heaped more frustration on banned Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels as they dominated at Dens Park but failed to grab a crucial winner as the game ended goalless.
Kilmarnock cannot have played as meekly all season and their manager - who still faces another three games in the stand after he was punished for comments made about fourth official Andrew Dallas - did not enjoy the experience one bit.
The Clydesdale Bank Premier League stalemate was a chance for his side to close in on the top six and yet they could not overcome a Dark Blues team fighting for their lives at the foot of the table.
For long spells it was a mundane contest but Dundee will feel they could have wrestled all three points and closed the gap on 11th-placed St Mirren to just nine points.
But the draw with Killie leaves the gap separating them from safety at 11 and means their run without a victory now extends to eight games.
And yet they had chances. Jim McAlister netted with a fine strike from outside the box early on but saw it chalked off after Colin Nish had wandered offside in the build-up.
John Baird went close as well when he sent a volley from an acute angle crashing onto the woodwork but Killie clung on for their fourth stalemate in their last six encounters.
Having reluctantly allowed Gary Harkins to return to his old team on Friday for an undisclosed fee, Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels will have been grateful that the buying club graciously accepted a request not to put him straight into their line-up.
That gentleman's agreement left Dundee manager Barry Smith to name the same starting team that picked up a valuable point at Hibernian last weekend.
Shiels, though, decided a fresh look was required after succumbing to a 3-2 home defeat to the Dens Park side's city rivals eight days ago, with Jereon Tesselaar, Garry Hay, Rory McKenzie and Borja Perez the men to benefit from his four alterations.
A scrappy opening eight minutes looked like it had been enlivened by a spectacularly clean strike from McAlister but his 25-yard beauty on the half-volley was disallowed after Dundee team-mate Colin Nish was flagged for offside in the build-up.
Killie's Paul Heffernan was denied by home keeper Rab Douglas' smart stop at the other end on 13 minutes but notable events were at a premium in a first half-hour lacking quality of any kind.
Kilmarnock came close to the opener as Rory McKenzie met Hay's centre from the right with a sidefoot shot but pushed it a fraction wide of Douglas' right-hand post.
A lovely chested down pass from Baird teed up another chance for the hosts on the stroke of half-time as Mark Stewart hit a low drive, but Tesselaar's block took the sting out of it and Killie goalkeeper Cammy Bell saved easily.
James Fowler also had time to squeeze a shot in from distance just before the whistle blew for the break and tried again 15 minutes into the second half but on both occasions Douglas was alert with competent saves.
With the run of play again uninspiring, Baird almost came up with something special for the home side with 25 minutes left.
Substitute Nicky Reilly picked him out in the box with a lofted pass and the former Raith frontman hit a first-time volley over his own shoulder which shook the far post before bouncing clear.
Dundee were giving it a go and another shot from distance from McAlister forced Bell to parry back into the danger zone but Nish put the rebound into the Bob Shankley Stand when he should have at least asked a second question of the Scotland international.
Barbour stung the hands of Douglas with five minutes left but it was Killie who were left to cling on as Brian Easton met Ryan Conroy's corner with a firm header, only for Hay to hack it clear from his own goal-line.
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