Dundee 1

Kilmarnock 2

Neil McCann, the Dundee manager, laid into Kilmarnock midfielder Jordan Jones and claimed he even told the Dundee players he’d taken a deliberate dive for their decisive penalty.

McCann took an astonishing swipe at Jones for the 55th-minute flashpoint that left the toiling Dark Blues nursing a fourth straight home Premiership defeat going into the international break.

For once, they went ahead through Adil Nabi’s splendid 10th-minute opener but crucially they couldn’t hold on.

Had they managed to build on their early advantage, the Tayside club could have moved off the foot of the table but instead are still languishing there. They had Elliott Parish, their keeper, to thank for keeping them in contention with a fine 73rd-minute penalty save from Greg Stewart.

Eamonn Brophy’s controversial 55th-minute spot-kick ultimately left the hosts livid after Jordan Jones’ deflected cross had cancelled out Nabi’s earlier strike to ensure Steve Clarke’s Kilmarnock now sit just three points behind league leaders Hearts.

But McCann couldn’t hide his disgust after Jones went to ground as Dundee defender Cammy Kerr ran alongside him before referee Steven McLean pointed to the spot.

“To say I’m aggrieved is an understatement,” said McCann afterwards. “I’m absolutely furious. My boys didn’t deserve that.

“I’ve just watched it again and there’s no contact.

“It’s a pivotal moment because we again we have to come from behind.

“I’m not taking anything away from Kilmarnock who are a very well-organised and disciplined side under Steve Clarke, but that decision helped their cause.

“The decision was a disgrace and it’s very hard for me to control my emotions.

“I went over to Steven (McLean) after the game and he just looked at me.

“I was looking at it from about 50-60 yards and I could see Jordan has gone down without any contact.

“The defining thing for me was that he’s (Jones) told boys in my team he has taken a dive.

“I asked the boy himself as he came off the pitch at the end. He just shook my hand but didn’t answer me.”

Kilmarnock arrived on Tayside aiming for a third consecutive league win having defeated both Celtic and Motherwell in previous weeks.

Kris Boyd was again left warming the bench due to the fine form of Brophy and Stewart, the on-loan Birmingham player, who’d enjoyed a spell at Dens Park prior to heading south.

But it was the hosts who struck first. Nabi was allowed to pick up possession and steady himself before curling a low shot into the corner of Jamie MacDonald’s net for his first goal since joining the club in August.

That served to lift a huge weight off their shoulders. Soon after, Nabi released Elton Ngwatala who sprinted into the box, only to be beaten to the ball by MacDonald who’d dived full-length to smother.

Their lead was short-lived though. Jones had no idea his attempted cross would take such a wicked deflection off Andrew Boyle, the Dundee central defender, and it simply looped high over the head of Parish who was stranded.

Stewart was a constant danger and his 28th-minute corner was swept high over the bar from defender Scott Boyd.

The second-half started with Parish pulling off a wonderful save from Brophy’s free-kick as it sailed towards the top corner.

Yet seconds later the visitors went ahead. Cammy Kerr was deemed by referee Steven McLean to have clipped Jones’ heels inside the box, and Brophy exuded ample confidence from the spot.

Then, in 73 minutes, Parish kept his team-mates in it. Calvin Miller barged into the back of Chris Burke, and Stewart looked certain to score until the Dundee keeper spread himself to claw away his effort from 12-yards.

“It’s a great effort from the lads to get three wins on the trot which speaks volumes for their efforts,” said Clarke afterwards.