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Derby Loss Is Catalyst As Dundee Eye Top Six


JoeCovenant

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Source: The Evening Telegraph

Dundee boss Paul Hartley has praised his players for the way they’ve responded to the derby disaster on New Year’s Day.

Since being hammered by neighbours Dundee United 6-2 on a painful day at Tannadice, the Dark Blues have embarked on a five-game unbeaten run. And Saturday’s hard-fought win at St Mirren leaves them just a point off the top six in the Premiership.

It also took them to 32 points from 24 games — two more than they managed in the entire campaign when they were last in the top flight two seasons ago. The weekend also marked the first time Dundee had come from behind to win since recovering to beat Morton 3-1 in the Championship at Dens Park on September 28, 2013.

For all that, the manager believes it’s time to give his men a pat on the back.

“I think since the derby game we’ve shown a great response. We had to take the criticism through that difficult period and we’ve responded,†said Paul. “Then I said to the players to keep doing what they’re good at. We didn’t change the way we wanted to play, all we said was just keep it going. At times like that you always think as a manager what can you do better and what do you need to change but we really didn’t change a lot. We just said to the players ‘keep working as hard as you can and your season will turn’. They have and it’s turning just now.â€

Paul admitted in terms of flowing football his team were not at their best in Paisley. When it came to attitude, though, he thought their performance was five star.

“We know we can play better. The goalkeeper’s kept us in the match during the first period of the game but I thought second half we showed what we’re all about in terms of the grit and the determination.â€

The 2-1 triumph was not without cost.

Goal hero Iain Davidson headed for hospital after the game with an ankle that was both badly gashed and twisted. Gary Harkins played for over an hour despite a deep cut on his head that required stitches and took a full 10 minutes for the medical team to stem the flow of blood.

Kostadin Gadzhalov also came off late on and his condition will be assessed over the next few days.

St Mirren manager Gary Teale launched a scathing attack on the match officials and questioned the decision to allow Gary Irvine’s equaliser.

“The first goal was offside,†he said. “I’ve seen the pictures again and how they can keep getting these decisions wrong beggars belief.â€

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