Dundee interim boss Neil McCann admits he already has a team in mind for Saturday’s crunch game at Motherwell – but that could all change if players do not meet his exacting standards in training as this week progresses.
The 42-year-old may have been in the Dens hot-seat for just over a week in what is his first managerial role but he already had a working knowledge of the Dark Blues squad having seen them when he was a pundit at Sky and on other occasions.
Now, having run the rule over them at training, he is closer to knowing who will win the nod against the Steelmen.
McCann said: “I have only had a little time to work with the players but you have to remember I have watched them in a couple of live games.
“I have seen them myself going to watch them so I am aware of the players.
“That’s the benefit of what I was telling people when they were talking about a lack of experience.
“My job when I am analysing a game for Sky is not just to throw something out, it is to give people an idea of why a goal has happened against them.
“I can identify things immediately. I can see that maybe a player shouldn’t be in that position and that he didn’t look comfortable.
“So I am already forming opinions. I have come in here with an opinion on what the team maybe missed in certain games we have played.
“But you don’t know for sure until you are actually working with them.
“I already have an idea for a team in my head (for Motherwell) but that could change.
“Boys could play themselves out of the team quite easily in one training session or they could play themselves into the team.
“That’s what I was talking about – the demands I place on players. Every day, it is down to competition and that’s how it will be until the end of the season.”
McCann is leaving no stone unturned in his bid to rescue Dundee from their precarious position at the wrong end of the Premiership table.
His first training sessions took place on the pitch at Dens last week with the interim boss keen that his players would have no excuses on what is a bowling-green surface – even if it did mean he had to call in a favour or two from groundsman Brian Robertson.
McCann smiled: “It is going to take everybody to come together and help out.
“In the first session, I was in here very early and I wanted everything to be organised and set up.
“I wanted the boys to come in and see their session there.
“It really helped me to go onto the pitch because it is a brilliant surface and I wanted my first session with the demands that I am placing on them not to be able to blame anything on the pitch.
“That allowed me to go out there and see the quality I was going to be working with.
“I have known Brian a long time and we go way back.
“I’m not sure how many favours that gives me but certainly he allowed me to train on it the first two days which was brilliant.
“It gave me the opportunity to have two high-tempo and quality sessions.
“It allowed me to have a good start.”