Kenny Miller, the Dundee substitute, missed a dramatic late penalty as Kilmarnock managed to escape Dens Park with a point in a night of frantic activity.

Miller had the chance to seal victory with the last kick of the ball, but instead shot weakly at Kilmarnock keeper Daniel Bachmann after being brought down by the visiting goalkeeper. New striker Andy Nelson’s first-half brace looked all set to give Jim McIntyre’s second-bottom side a massive boost in their fight for Ladbrokes Premiership survival.

The big striker opened the scoring in eight minutes and added a second twelve minutes later after Conor McAleny had pulled one back for Stevie Clarke’s fourth-top Kilmarnock.

But Dundee’s hopes of climbing even further away from bottom-dogs St Mirren were dashed when former Rangers star Chris Burke stepped up to snatch a share of the spoils for Killie with a stunning 53rd-minute free-kick, before Miller turned villain from the spot.

Dundee were still reeling from the loss of a last-gasp equaliser away to Hamilton a few days earlier when they’d come within seconds of a precious three points, while Kilmarnock arrived on Tayside having lost their last outing 2-1 lost at home to Hearts last Friday.

But it was the relegation-threatened hosts who struck. Nelson, assisted by team-mate Craig Curran, turned neatly inside the box and angled an impressive low shot into Bachmann’s far corner of the net.

But Killie levelled in 18 minutes. Kirk Broadfoot’s through pass was perfect for McAleny and the on-loan Fleetwood Town man was quick enough to escape the offside trap and send a shot past Seny Dieng.

However, Nelson restored the hosts' lead two minutes later. Latching on to possession, the 21-year-old had nothing else on his mind other than going for goal which he did in style with a well-executed shot past Bachmann in the visitors' goal from 18 yards.

Dundee remained on top until half-time. Just prior to the break, defender Ryan McGowan tried his luck, but his effort lacked the necessary purchase to seriously trouble Bachmann.

There was certainly a sense that there would be more goals to come in this game and so it proved within eight minutes of the restart.

Ryan McGowan’s trip on McAleny gave their opponents the opportunity which they were careful not to waste.

Burke’s curling free-kick from 25-yards caught out Dineg who, despite getting a touch, couldn’t keep the ball out as Killie got themselves back on level terms.

Killie finished the stronger side in the dying stages but there was one final twist when Miller, who’d been fouled by Bachmann, stepped up but hit his penalty low into Bachmann’s arms and immediately sank to his knees.

Dundee have no fixture this weekend, but there are positives for them to take going into the remaining weeks of the season which will determine their fate, and whether they will play their football in the top tier next season.