The tour was coordinated by George Anderson’s friend and Dundonian Haldane Stewart, who would later manage Morton and they stayed in the best of hotels wherever they went. They were based in Johannesburg where each player had a room to themselves although when Anderson saw the room that seventeen-year-old Dave Easson had, with a wonderful view of the beach, he immediately made the youngster swap as he only had a view of the service entrance at the rear.
Dundee’s first match took place against Southern Transvaal in Johannesburg on May 16th 1953 and when they took to the field in front of 22,000, they were wearing not their regular dark blue but rather an Anderson tartan strip with a Dundee badge on the left breast chosen by manager George Anderson.
Anderson was well aware of the benefits of good publicity and as the side started to get changed for their first match, he came into the dressing room with a parcel with their new strips stating, “These will take a trick out there.” When they took to the field, the new shirts were given a great reception by the local fans and the following day, the newspaper headlines read, ‘Tartan Troops From Tayside’, as they reported on the 1-1 draw.
Bobby Flavell, who had finished the trophy winning season with twenty-five goals, got Dundee’s strike against Southern Transvaal and in their second game against Natal in Pietermarizburg, he scored a hat-trick with ‘Pud’ Hill getting Dundee’s other counter in a 4-1 win.
Three days later in Durban, Dundee went one better, winning 5-0 in a rematch with Natal and Flavell was again on the mark with a double with Billy Steel, Doug Cowie and Alfie Boyd from the penalty spot completing the scoring.
Dundee were greeted very warmly everywhere they went and with a large number of Scottish ex-pats in South Africa, they enjoyed scores of functions and receptions by Caledonian societies as well as by their hosts and they were in such demand that they turned down more functions than they actually attended due to simple time constraints.
The undoubted highlight of these receptions was when the Dundee squad were presented to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret at a Royal Garden Party in Bulawayo in Rhodesia and each player was presented in turn to the Royals who showed great interest in the tour.