GREG Aitken is probably the most detested man in Dunfermline tonight after awarding Dundee two penalties in a pulsating opening day draw.

The Pars were cruising at 2-0 through Ryan Dow and Kevin Nisbet before a Danny Johnson double clawed them back.

Ryan Scully guessed correctly with both efforts, but he wasn't able to keep out the highly disputed spot-kicks.

It was a game that had it all and was the perfect advertisement for what is surely to come in the Championship this season: goals, questionable decisions and drama.

The tannoy blared out The Only Way Is Up by pop singer Yazz in the pre-match build-up and both teams will hope that's the case in the 2019/20 campaign.

Dundee suffered relegation from the Premiership while the Pars finished just three points off the bottom of the Championship.

Both managers have recruited heavily over the summer, with Stevie Crawford bolstering his ranks with no less than 11 new faces. The opposite man in the dugout, James McPake, added eight.

For the Pars, six new signings made their first team league debuts in the starting line-up.

Aaron Comrie and Euan Murray joined Lee Ashcroft and Lewis Martin in defence, with Paul Paton, Ryan Dow and Josh Coley in midfield with Tom Beadling. Surprise inclusion Lewis McCan was partnered up top by Kevin Nisbet, who has enjoyed a strong Betfred Cup campaign so far with five goals in four games.

The clock then struck 7.05pm and Lewis McCann got the 19/20 Championship season underway.

The first chance went to the visitors.

Ryan Scully's outstretched left-hand had to be strong to keep out Josh Meekings' header. The Dundee captain rose well and his effort from six yards was goalbound, but the Pars number one tipped it over the bar.

Meekings would soon be involved at the other end as he became the first recipient of a yellow card this year when he brought down the lively ex-Dundee United man Ryan Dow, eager to put one over against his former club's rivals.

He was having great joy down the right against Jordan Marshall and his joy soon turned to elation moments later on 13 minutes.

Cammy Kerr's pass put Jordan Forster in danger and, under pressure from Nisbet, lost out to the striker in a 50/50 battle.

Nisbet then presented Dow with a 1v1 with Jack Hamilton inside the box with a perfectly weighted pass for the winger to stroll on to and tuck home through the keepers' legs.

It was no more than the Pars deserved for their early dominance in a fast-paced league opener.

Not to be outdone by his team-mate, Kevin Nisbet got in on the act after the half-hour mark.

He had earlier missed a header at a tight angle, but he made no mistake at the next opportunity as he added to the Pars' tally on 35 minutes.

It was Dow once again proving to be a thorn in Dundee's right-hand side and his nonchalant floated cross was completely missed by Hamilton. The stopper fell to the floor and turned round to see Nisbet's back post header slowly drop into the back of his empty net.

He almost grabbed his second in what would have been stunning fashion when, with the outside of his foot, he smacked the crossbar from eight yards out after he harried Meekings off the ball. As an ex-centre back himself, McPake would've been furious at how his back three were dealing with Athletic's attackers.

Thankfully for Dundee, they were presented with a gift before the break.

Dow was in two minds what to do with a poor cross into the box and it appeared his right arm moved towards the ball before clearing his lines.

Greg Aitken instantly blew his whistle and signalled for a penalty.

Danny Johnson grabbed the ball, placed it on the spot, and duly dispatched a low effort down to Scully's right, with the Pars stopper guessing correctly but failing to stretch enough for the powerful strike.

It was a lifeline for Dundee who had offered nothing in the first half, with Johnson's penalty their first effort throughout the 45 minutes.

Aitken's whistle blew for the interval before a chorus of booing errupted from the home crowd towards the man in blue, riled by his decision to award the penalty.

James McPake reshuffled his disappointing pack at half-time with Meekings and Andrew Nelson replaced by Josh Todd and Declan McDaid as they changed from a 3-5-2 to a 4-2-3-1.

They emerged re-energised and both McDaid and Todd were making their presence felt with sharp passing and clever movement off the ball.

McDaid's quick feet mesmerised Lee Ashcroft on the edge of the area and the centre-back was booked for his desperate lunge to prevent the winger from clawing Dundee back level with the goal at his mercy.

The visitors' early showing in the second-half was night and day from the first, but Athletic nearly made it 3-1.

Nisbet found room beneath Forster's legs and watched on as his toe-poked attempt flashed past Hamilton's far post.

Those responsible at the BBC for selecting this game for live TV coverage couldn't have asked for a more fiery encounter as Dundee equalised on 75 minutes.

Once again, it came from twelve yards out and a swarm of Dunfermline protests.

Johnson broke through on goal after a McDaid through pass and was adjudged to have been brought down under pressure with two black jerseys close to him.

Aitken pointed to the spot for the second time in the match much to the shock of the majority of East End Park's attendance.

Johnson brushed himself down and grabbed his brace with a carbon copy finish of his first.

Jordan McGhee almost fired - quite literally - Dundee ahead with five minutes left on the clock with as sweet a volley as you'll see. From 25 yards out, he let fly and his drive screamed narrowly over the bar with Scully hanging in the air.

Greg Aitken blew the whistle for the final time as the game ended all-square on a night where Dunfermline were made to pay the penalty in a thrilling encounter at East End.

PARS: Scully, Comrie, Ashcroft, Murray, Martin, Dow (Ryan 85), Beadling, Paton, Coley (Todd 59), Nisbet, McCann (Edwards 68).

Subs not used: Gill, Lang, Morrison, Allan.
Booked: Beadling (24), Ashcroft (55) Goals: Dow (13), Nisbet (35)

DUNDEE: Hamilton, Kerr, Forster, Meekings (Todd 46), McGhee, Marshall, Byrne, Robertson, McGowan, Johnson, Nelson (McDaid 46) Subs: Ferrie, Moore, Cameron, Mulligan, Cunningham.

Booked: Meekings (11)
Goals: Johnson (45, 75).

Referee: Greg Aitken

Attendance: 5,227