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.”
The 21 year-old striker has netted four times in six appearances since his move from Sunderland but has been stuck on the sidelines since injuring himself while celebrating his goal against Livingston on February 16th.
"Andrew is back in full training, which is a great boost," announced McIntyre.
"He obviously started his career here very well and has been important.
"He's banged in a few goals and looked a handful and a threat to the opposition. That gives us another option up top and you can't have enough of them."
Long-term absentee Andrew Davies will also have to wait to see if he will feature on Saturday at some point though it looks likely he will miss out due to McIntyre's response.
"Andrew Davies is still uncomfortable so he is the only doubt.
"He did a bit of training for about a week and he felt something. We got it X-rayed again and it has shown up fine.
"Apart from the long-term absentees everyone took part which is great at this stage of the season."
Both strikers missed the action against Rangers in the midweek defeat against Rangers.
Andrew Nelson has missed two games for the Dark Blues after injuring himself in the 2-1 win against Livingston last month. He suffered a heel injury while celebrating his goal.
Curran's return is also in doubt. The former Dundee United and Ross County striker played at Livingston last weekend but has been nursing a stomach problem since the draw with Kilmarnock a fortnight ago.
The Dens boss said: “They are coming on slowly but they are not back on the training ground yet. Hopefully we might see either before the end of the week but I don’t want to say we will because it might not happen."
“Craig had an injection in his stomach area last week and it has settled down nicely so we have to give that a full week. It is just a muscle strain type thing in his stomach/hip area so the injection will hopefully calm that down.
“Andrew has a heel injury which he picked up celebrating at Livingston. He just jumped up and came down on it. It looks like absolutely nothing on the video when you watch it back but he just felt something.”
McIntyre added: “It is better but it is not fully away yet. What we don’t want to do is bring him back too early and then there is a reoccurrence which would leave him chasing his tail trying to get fitness because he has missed a lot of sessions. We have tried a couple of different things like putting a heel raise in to take the pressure off that area but he is still a bit tender so we have had to back off. He was better at the weekend so we will see what it is like by the end of the week.”
Dundee face Hearts this weekend at Dens Park.
It looked like the same old hard luck stories of past would be n the cards again when Livingston went ahead just minutes after being reduced to 10-men following a reckless challenge by Shaun Byrne. Dundee did push forward but would go int the break still behind after failing to put a shot on target.
That however all changed in the second half.
Andrew Nelson put the teams back on level terms with a fantastic looping header from a Scott Wright cross. Following an awful challenge on substitute Jesse Curran on the edge of the Livi box, Wright would step up with less than ten minutes to play and tucked away a delicious free-kick that even ‘Glorious’ Gary Harkins would have been proud of.
This was Dundee’s second victory in five matches and this sees them move above Hamilton in 10th on goal difference.