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  1. The Dark Blues closed two deals last night, just hours before the window slammed shut. They have snapped up former Motherwell frontman Henrik Ojamaa and ex-Ross County midfielder Marc Klok. Hartley feels both will give the club a boost for the remainder of the Premiership season. Estonian international Ojamaa comes on loan from Go Ahead Eagles in the Netherlands, while Dutchman Klok had been playing for Oldham Athletic in England’s League One. Both players’ deals are until the end of the season. Going out the door yesterday were striker Yordi Teijsse, who joined German side Wuppertaler SV on a loan until the summer, and young central defender Matty Smyth, who moved to Arbroath on a development loan. That all added to the Derry City loan switch made by Nicky Low and the move to Montrose made by defender Matty Allan the previous day. Rory Loy joined St Mirren earlier in the month. Hartley said: “I am happy with what we have done in the window. “There is now more competition up front with bringing Henrik in and I think Marc will add to our options in the middle of the park.” The Dens boss sees Ojamaa fitting nicelt into his forward line. He said: “We are really delighted to get Henrik in and I think he will be perfect for playing alongside Marcus Haber. “We have been looking for someone to complement him and add pace to our attack, so he will be ideal for that. “Henrik had a great first spell with Motherwell, scoring a lot of goals and got a very good move to Legia Warsaw in Poland on the back of that. “He is still only 25 but has lots of experience at both club and international level so he will be a good addition to the squad. “I have felt we have been a bit short up front because both Craig Wighton and Faissal El Bakhtaoui are still developing so at times they will have to be taken out of the team “But getting Henrik on board means we have more options now and I think his style will add something to the team.” Hartley believes the short spell in Dingwall will help Klok cope fit in quickly. The Dark Blues boss added: “We have had Marc in for a few days training with us and liked what we saw. “He was a young lad when he first came to Scotland. “I think he was only 19 when Derek Adams took him to Ross County. “Having that experience of the league, even though he only played a few games, is an advantage because he knows what it’s all about. “He has a contract to the end of the season so it is up to him to impress and win a longer stay.”
  2. The Dens Park boss could start with the same line-up that crashed out of the trophy when they went down 2-0 at home to the Championship’s rock-bottom side St Mirren. With skipper Darren O’Dea suspended and James McPake and ex-Don Nicky Low not yet fit enough for first team action, Hartley will choose from an unchanged squad. He has considered making changes, but letting the players make amends is also on his mind. He said: “The team I put out last week was the same team that beat St Johnstone 3-0 in the last game before the break. I didn’t change anything. “The players just didn’t perform and I’m sure there will be a big reaction from them against Aberdeen. There has to be. “They know they are better than they showed, so they have a great opportunity in front of the TV cameras to go and put on a good show.” Meanwhile, the hunt for new talent in this transfer window is continuing. Hartley added: “It’s really difficult to get the right type of player. We will try our best right up till the end of the window.”
  3. 1 League is the priority It wouldn’t have felt like it on Saturday, and still probably doesn’t, but staying in the Premiership has to be the primary goal for Dundee this season. That was the case from the moment they were cut adrift at the bottom of the table in October. It has been a pretty impressive turn-around. As bad as Dundee looked at the weekend, they were in a worse place after that midweek Partick Thistle match. Five wins and a draw in their last 10 league games is a sequence that, if repeated, would take them comfortably clear of the play-off picture and possibly even into the top six. Few will be predicting any points at Pittodrie on Friday night but the Dark Blues face Kilmarnock, Inverness, Motherwell and Partick in four of their five matches after that. A mid-table finish, probably just below the cut line, is still to be expected. 2 The manager is still in credit Paul Hartley deserves credit for the reasons mentioned above – getting his team out of real trouble – and for a promotion, as well as establishing Dundee as a Premiership side. He has had to sell his two best players – relatively late in the summer window – and hasn’t had the funds to replace like with like. He hasn’t lost his eye for a player and if this turns into a rebuilding season, that shouldn’t be cause for panic. Hartley will be a better manager for the tough times Dundee have had in the cup and the league. 3 The transfer window isn’t shut yet The 3-0 defeat of St Johnstone in the last game before the break probably wouldn’t have helped Hartley’s cause if he was hoping to persuade the American owners that he needed January reinforcements. Better that the bucket of cold water is thrown over the money men now than in February. This must be an infuriating squad of players for Hartley to manage – capable of beating an excellent Perth Saints one week and then losing to a poor Paisley Saints in their next fixture – and I suspect the benefit of the doubt will no longer be given to a few of them. FEARFUL 1 No excuses There is no mitigation for a performance like Saturday’s. Ring-rust? No chance. Plenty of other Premiership sides hit the ground running after the three-week break, most of them against better teams than that St Mirren one. It was just the latest example of Dundee failing to deal with the requirements and pressure of cup football. Forget talk of hoodoos and stuff like that. At least when St Johnstone and Hibs were struggling with the weight of history they were getting to semi-finals pretty regularly. The cup defeats, particularly to lower league teams, have shown up mental fragility and/or an attitude problem. That doesn’t come from the manager – who, admirably, hasn’t hidden from the fact that cup success is a priority. 2 They’re not safe yet If avoiding relegation is the goal, Dundee’s league position isn’t one to fill you with dread. However, the defeat to St Mirren, the manner of it, and the soul-searching such a performance and result provokes in a dressing room has the potential to send a season spiralling downwards. Friday night at Aberdeen is now key. A heavy defeat and all of that Hogmanay optimism will have been wiped out. Teams have gone down from better positions than Dundee’s. 3 The natives (or at least, some of them) are restless Of all the sets of supporters in the Premiership, you could argue a case that Dundee’s have been the most agitated this season. The league campaign hadn’t even started when Paul McGowan was trying to calm irate fans down in Peterhead. Dundee United’s failures the previous year, and Dundee taking the opportunity to send their local rivals down, probably papered over some cracks. It should be remembered that those who shout loudest don’t always represent the majority of the fan base, but there’s no denying that there is a section of the Dens Park crowd who are sceptical about the owners, and aren’t happy with their manager. If the anger in the stands at another cup horror show festers, it will take a strong head coach and strong players to make it go away, and stay away.
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