DUNDEE manager James McPake was left frustrated after his side slipped to the bottom of the Scottish Premiership on goal difference after failing to take their chances in a pulsating goalless Dundee derby.

It was frantic, end to end and noisy – amplified by Dundee captain Charlie Adam cupping his ear in front of the United support during the pre-match warm-up – but it lacked quality in front of goal.

“Just that final pass or that bit at the top end of the pitch, we are missing at the minute,” said McPake. “We put some fantastic deliveries into the box but I think at times we were very wasteful. It’s hard to criticise them … but we need to get it right at the top end of the pitch and I’ve got full belief we will.”

It wasn’t for the want of trying – both sides lined up in formations containing three forwards. Tam Courts fielded all three of his United strikers, with James McPake giving a starting debut to 20-year-old Vontae Daley-Campbell, who impressed at right-back.

There was a slight delay to kick-off as flares and streamers rained down with the noise as the sides emerged and stewards cleared up.

As expected, Adam’s centres caused all sorts of problems for the United defence but it was via an inswinger from Niall McGinn, making his first start since his January move from Aberdeen, that brought about the best chance of the first half. Former United winger Paul McMullan, one of the shortest on the field, sent a looping header towards the far post, forcing an excellent stop from Benji Siegrist.

United’s best chance of the half had come in the opening minutes when Marc McNulty fired low and just beyond the far post after exchanging passes with Tony Watt. The former Motherwell man was looking the most likely to make something happen for his side and later his fizzing cross was missed by everyone after he worked space on the left.

He was then involved in a mild flashpoint, pushing Adam while frustrated at a decision, but referee John Beaton kept his cards in his pocket. Watt had appeared to go down far too down easily under the challenge of Ryan Sweeney.

After the break there was a routine save for Siegrist from McMullan before Adam’s corner was cleared by the man on the post. McPake then introduced Luke McCowan, along with Zak Rudden for his debut, as the Dundee boss looked to capitalise on their spell of near-constant pressure, moving to a 4-2-4.

He was almost rewarded when Rudden was slipped in by McMullan and beat the keeper after delaying his shot, only to see Ryan Edwards head off the line. From the resulting corner, the former Partick Thistle striker again steered it towards goal, this time from a Sweeney knock-down, but it was cleared off the line once more.

United had their spell in the finL 10 minutes but were unable to force Adam Legzdins into any sort of save. The closest they came was when substitue Peter Pawlett burst through the middle, fed Watt down the left but his pin-point cross was somehow put over the bar by Nicky Clark from seven yards.

"It was chaotic, frenzied, like many derbies are,” said Courts. “In the first 45 minutes I felt a little bit frustrated considering it was very chaotic for a prolonged period of time. I didn't think the way we committed to the match actually suited us.

"Towards the latter part of the game we used the ball better, we were more composes and we actually engineered some quality opportunities and probably the best couple of chances fell to us towards the end."