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    When the news reached former Dundee Championship winning Captain Gavin Rae down in Australia that Dundee had parted company with Paul Hartley, Rae wasn’t taken back by what he was hearing.

    Speaking to The Dark Blues website Rae said: “I wasn't surprised with Paul Hartley getting sacked as results were tough going for a while and in football, nothing surprises me. I was more surprised with the timing as there's not many games to go.

    “I do think he could have turned it around but the club decided and I have no issue with that either. It's football.

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    “I had a good relationship with Paul. It was strange as we were peers for so long and opponents for years.

    “But we had a good manager to captain relationship while we worked together.”

    Though Rae wasn’t surprised that Hartley was sacked due to a run of bad results which resulted in Dundee sitting in the Play-Off spot, the news that former team mate Neil McCann had taken over the reigns as Interim Manager had a different reaction.

    “I was a little surprised, but only because I wasn't aware of how keen he was to get a management gig as I thought he was enjoying the TV career he has forged. I knew he was a Pro licence holding coach and coaching also, but wasn't sure what direction he was going to go in the future.

    “He has only a short time to put his stamp on the team and turn round a bad run of results also. It's going to be hard but I really hope he manages it. Dundee FC definitely belong in the top division.

    “It was certainly a bold move and hopefully it pays off.”

    Rae went on to add: “I remember Neil being very dedicated and professional, even at a young age. He was playing in the first team and doing really well and (he) wasn't much older than me, but playing every week. I was assigned to clean his boots. I think he was good to me at Xmas time, he looked after me!

    While many fans and pundits question McCann’s appointment which saw him beat a string of more experienced names to become John Nelms first choice, Gavin was quick to give his approval.

    “I like the fact it is someone new, rather than a safe bet. It could turn out to be a masterstroke.”

    Neil McCann’s Dundee take on Motherwell this Saturday at Fir Park in the first of their five remaining games. Our quest to survive relegation and a Play-Off situation start off with two tough away matches.

    Rae added: “It’s not ideal that the first two games are away from home but that is a challenge Neil will be well up for and it hopefully won't make a difference where they are.

    Gavin captained Dundee into the Premiership back in 2014 and with the club aiming to end their slump of seven straight defeats to consolidate their Premiership status, everyone including Rae will be hoping for the ‘New Manager’ bounce that some teams get when a new face takes over.

    “Time will tell if he has but I really hope so. As I said, the club is a Premier League club. Fingers crossed they remain there next season and beyond also.”

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