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Dundee boss Tony Docherty revealed he had been teasing match-winner Luke McCowan about his lack of goals prior to the 1-0 cinch Premiership win over Livingston at Dens Park.

The 25-year-old struck a superb second-half free-kick to clinch all three points and move the Dark Blues up to sixth in the table.

It was McCowan’s second goal of the season – with Docherty pointing out before the game that he had netted fewer than centre-half skipper Joe Shaughnessy.

Docherty said: “We are a newly-promoted team and nobody can expect a home game against Livingston to be easy.

“It’s a tough, tough game and you have to do so many things right.

“I think what defined the match was a moment of quality from Luke McCowan.

“I’m delighted for him. I’m always banging on to him to get more goals and assists – I was teasing him the other day saying Joe Shaughnessy has more goals than him. Now he’s level with Joe!

“I’m really pleased for the team.

“This squad’s mentality is fantastic and has been from day one.

“The clean sheets we are keeping give you such a platform to win games.”

The defeat at Dens was the second time Livingston had lost to Dundee in the space of eight days.

However, this time round, boss David Martindale insisted he could not be angry with his players.

He said: “A moment of brilliance from Luke McCowan changed the dynamic of the game.

“We had a fantastic chance with Joel Nouble and he’s got to do better with it.

“It’s a part of his game where he’s got to become more ruthless. He’s got to hit the target.

“I thought we shaded the first half but should have taken more care in the final third. We could have done better.

“In the second half, I thought we were the better team but Dundee defended their box well.

“I feel for the players. I was angry when we lost to Dundee last week but I can’t have any anger with the players today.”

Livi have now lost four games in a row and remain ninth with Martindale admitting his side are in a dogfight to stay up.

He said: “I think we’ll be in a relegation battle up to matchday 33 – or even matchday 38.

“I’ve been at Livingston for ten years and I think I’ve been in a relegation battle for nine.

“Have we over-achieved? I think we have.

“Do I think we’ve got more than enough to get out of this? Of course we have.”