Killie and Dark Blues share spoils

Dundee enjoyed a respectable return to the SPL as they claimed a point after holding Kilmarnock to a 0-0 draw in their season opener.

Last Updated: 07/08/12 at 11:43

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Their route to the SPL may have been unusual and controversial in the eyes of some, but Dundee demonstrated an ability to hold their own following a seven-year absence from the top division.

The SPL decided a few weeks ago that the Irn-Bru First Division runners-up, rather than relegated Dunfermline, should replace troubled Rangers in the top-flight and take over the fixtures of 'Club 12'.

The Dark Blues formally took their place among Scottish football's elite again yesterday when Rangers' SPL share was transferred to the Tayside club.

For boss Barry Smith, the dramatic events over the summer meant a race against time to assemble a side capable of competing at a higher level than initially anticipated, after rivals Ross County cruised to the title at the end of last season.

Dundee made the trip to Ayrshire without Davide Grassi, who had been awaiting international clearance and was unable to take his place in the matchday squad, although Jim McAlister and Mark Stewart both made their debuts.

Jeroen Tesselaar made his SPL bow for Killie but fellow new recruit Rory Boulding had to settle for a place on the bench despite injury to Paul Heffernan leaving the home side short of firepower.

Kilmarnock carved out the first real chance when Matthew Kennedy squared into the packed box from the left and the ball broke for James Fowler but Rab Douglas saved well in the Dundee goal.

The visitors showed no signs of being overawed by the occasion and a McAlister cutback found Gary Irvine and his powerful shot was only prevented from finding the back of the net by a timely block from Tesselaar.

John Baird then dispossessed Liam Kelly - amid furious claims by the Killie player that he had been fouled - before unleashing an effort which dipped just over the crossbar.

At the other end, Kennedy forced a decent save from Douglas, before Gary Harkins' volley fell just wide of the target, as the home side pushed for the opener.

One of the best chances of the game so far fell to James Dayton at the back post just before the break but, again, Douglas stood tall and blocked the close-range shot as the first half ended goalless.

Both sides emerged for the second half determined to break the deadlock and Kevin McBride fired just over after collecting a poor clearance from Dayton.

Kennedy then saw a weak shot fall across the face of goal and trundle past the far upright to the sound of frustrated groans from the home fans.

Killie made a double change with 66 minutes on the clock, when Boulding and Danny Racchi were both thrown into the action for Dayton and Lee Johnson.

With time running out, Stewart could have snatched the points for the visitors when he burst through on goal only to balloon over the crossbar, without even testing Killie keeper Cammy Bell.

Douglas then came to the rescue of Dundee deep into injury-time with a superb save to deny substitute Rory McKenzie.

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