Dundee kicked off their first home league match of their 2019/20 campaign with a hard fought win over Ayr United thanks to an Andrew Nelson goal.
The talk before the match was all about returning hero Kane Hemmings, who found himself put straight into the starting XI but this meant Andrew Nelson was the unlucky forward to drop to the bench with Danny Johnson favoured to partner Hemmings up top.
With the match still at 0-0 and Dundee struggling to find a way to break down a stubborn Ayr back-line, McPake replaced Johnson with Nelson and the substitute only took six minute to put the Dee ahead with a glancing header from a pin-point Jordan Marshall cross.
McPake said: “Andy probably feels hard done by.
“I had a front two that didn’t include him and that's no reflection on Andy who's had a good pre-season.
“It was a tough decision to leave him out but that's football for you.
“But I really love working with Andy. You get everything from him and he showed that again for how long he was on the park here.
“His goal was great, a brilliant header. There’s so much more to come from him. We know he can make a massive contribution with goals allied to his overall play.
“We’re just delighted to get off the mark. It was a tough, tough game. Ayr are a very dangerous side.
“We’re going to need this grit and determination. We’re going to have a lot of teams coming to Dens and trying to frustrate us, and I felt we handled that well.”