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Dundee Boss Praises Unsung Hero Greg Stewart


JoeCovenant

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Courier website a bit late with this one...!

Source: The Courier

Dundee boss Paul Hartley insists Greg Stewart has not received the plaudits he deserves for what he has achieved so far during his first season of Premiership football.

The 24-year-old who joined the Dark Blues during the summer from part-time Championship outfit Cowdenbeath, has been a revelation since making the switch with his superb strike against Aberdeen on Saturday taking his overall goals tally to 12. He is currently sitting in second place in the Premiership scoring chart just two behind Hamilton’s Tony Andreu.

Last week, Dundee rewarded the striker with a contract extension however Hartley believes it is time others sat up and took notice of how well Stewart is doing.

He said: “On form, I think he’s as good as anyone in the league. He’s the second top scorer behind Andreu. I think Greg just goes about his business in a quiet way. But he does his talking on the park. He’s a good boy, great to work with.

“I think that’s one of the reasons we tied him up for another year. We’d been talking to him for a wee while. We really felt he deserved to get the extension and hopefully he’s got a few good years playing here. I think he can only get better.

“People probably looked at it as a bit of a gamble when we took Greg but I didn’t see it that way. I wasn’t quite sure he would score this amount of goals so far but I always thought he was a terrific link-up player and a creator. However, he’s shown if he can get a chance, then he can finish.

“To be honest, I don’t think he’s had a lot of credit. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe it’s because of where we are sitting in the league. I don’t know. Maybe we’re not a fashionable club but he hasn’t been given the credit he deserves.

“I think Greg has probably been one of the best players in Scotland this season. I think where he came from — Jimmy Nicholl brought him from an amateur team to Cowdenbeath — it just makes him want to do really well in his career. He’s 24, a really good age and hopefully he can kick-on from here and get better.â€

Hartley identified that players who do make the step up from part-time football often have the inner desire and hunger to succeed.

He added: “Part-time players usually train two nights a week and it’s a hard slog as they’ve got a day job. So when you sign them, they just make the most of it. We’ve also taken Scott Bain and Paul McGinn from part-time clubs and they’ve been regulars in our team as well.

“There’s a real hunger in them to do well. When I worked with the group at Alloa, their attitude was absolutely different class. They never missed training. They were always there, coming straight from their job. I think you’ve got to give credit to the part-time lads.

“I believe you get value for money when you pick the right ones.â€

Hartley revealed that McGinn will have to sit out tomorrow’s game with Kilmarnock at Dens.

The full-back has been playing through the pain barrier for weeks but has finally been sidelined by the problem.

The manager said: “Paul McGinn will be out, he has had a problem with his back for the last few weeks and is in too much pain just now. He just needs to rest it. Kosta Gadzhalov has a thigh injury and is probably a doubt. David Clarkson will have a fitness test tomorrow. James McPake though is back from injury and Paul McGowan returns from suspension.

“We have a lot of games coming up and January is a busy month for us. So we don’t want to rush people back.â€

However, one player Hartley has brought back is teenager Craig Wighton who has returned to Dens following the conclusion of his month-long loan spell with Brechin. The striker netted two goals for City on Saturday and Glebe gaffer Ray McKinnon was keen to keep him for longer however Hartley wanted him back to bolster his numbers.

He said: “Craig got his two goals on Saturday and we have brought him back. Unfortunately, he has had to go home today as he has picked up a sickness bug. Once he’s better, we will see how he does and how he looks. As I’ve said, the numbers aren’t really good at the moment. Bringing him back might just give us a little boost again.

“We are still looking to bring a couple in but January is a tough market.â€

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