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Dundee 1-0 Heart of Midlothian: First Premiership win for Dundee and Docherty

Luke McCowan's wonderful winner was no surprise to Dundee boss Tony Docherty as his side crept past Hearts to secure their first Scottish Premiership victory since promotion.

Winger McCowan's delightful 30-yard chip also gave Docherty a maiden league win at the helm, and the manager was full of praise for the 25-year old.

"Luke scored a similar goal against Fleetwood in pre-season," Docherty said. "He's a great boy who typifies the dressing room. He's all in.

"I am really pleased for him but more pleased for the squad in terms of they got their rewards today for all the hard work they put in."

After an atrocious first half, Hearts made three changes and flew out the traps but it was Dundee who found a route to goal, with McCowan picking up a stray backpass from Aidan Denholm and dinking it over Zander Clark with aplomb.

The visitors pushed for an equaliser that wouldn't come, as they recorded their first loss of the new league campaign.

There was doubt over whether McCowan was even supposed to start after some confusion with the teamsheets. No change was forthcoming and the temporarily-blond bombshell began.

It was just as well. He was Dundee's brightest spark in a terrible first half, alongside Scott Tiffoney. There was only one shot on target for both sides - a nothing half-volley from Finlay Robertson.

Hearts had made five changes from the side narrowly beaten by Greek side PAOK in the Europa Conference League play-off first leg on Thursday night, and it showed. They knocked it around well but there was no cohesion, no fluidity, and no chances of note.

The additions of Nathaniel Atkinson and Liam Boyce at half-time made a difference and Stephen Kingsley went close with a free-kick that Trevor Carson had to tip over.

But Dundee floored their visitors with a counter-punch in the form of McCowan's dink.

Hearts pressed and pressed, but the ball wouldn't sit. When it might normally fall to Lawrence Shankland, it fell to Frankie Kent. The centre-back's fresh-air swipe summed it up.

Player of the Match - Luke McCowan (Dundee)

Fruitless Hearts' away woes continue - analysis

Hearts haven't won outside Edinburgh - or Perth - since October last year. Two wins on the road in 14 attempts - both against St Johnstone. It's far from good enough for a side with ambitions of third place.

Of course, they've had to contend with Europe and it's hard to say if the management department got the starting XI wrong as a result. Were Cammy Devlin and Atkinson fit enough to start? Liam Boyce certainly wasn't.

Alex Lowry sparkled but his end product let him down. Yutaro Oda struggled, Kenneth Vargas showed quality in small flashes. The attacking element of this side still need to gel.

As for Dundee, they were opportunistic - but that's what you need to do against a side with more quality across the park. They absorbed the pressure and picked Hearts off with a single blow.

What they said

Dundee manager Tony Docherty: "I was really pleased with the our performance. Our last two performances have been a bit bitty. I wanted a 90-minute performance today and I got that."

Hearts' technical director Steven Naismith: "[We were] really poor. We didn't deserve anything from the game. It was compounded by a terrible goal to lose. [On the] first-half performance, we're fortunate to be drawing at half-time.

"We make three substitutions at half-time that impacts the game. We dominate and start creating chances, playing the way we have in the past. For whatever reason, we go away from that. We start making poor decisions with the ball."

What's next?

Dundee have a league trip to face St Johnstone on Saturday (15:00 BST), while Hearts travel to Greece on Thursday to face PAOK in the second leg of their Europa Conference League play-off (18:30) then host Motherwell in the Premiership next Sunday (15:00).