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Dundee Boss Hails Side’S Ability To Grind Out Results


JoeCovenant

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Source: The Courier

Dundee boss Paul Hartley has hailed his side’s grit and determination at both ends of the pitch after finding a way to grind out results.

The Dark Blues have strung together an eight-game unbeaten run in which they have secured 18 out of a possible 24 points to take them into the top six. And with that they have demonstrated the sort of character they will need if they are to stay there, having earned four single goal victories in the last five league games and a draw with virtually the last kick of the ball against Hamilton at the end of January.

“You have to come through games and see them out when it hasn’t been pretty football,†Hartley explained.

“You need to be hard to beat and you have to show a clean-sheet mentality. We have shown that in the last few games. It is credit to the boys at the back but the team as well because we have worked hard defensively.

“We have also been really consistent in scoring goals which has been pleasing. We have shared the goals out. Greg Stewart and Clarkie (David Clarkson) and the defenders have all had spells and hopefully the midfielders will also have spells as well.â€

The latest 1-0 victory came at Motherwell’s expense on Saturday and Hartley reckons his side fully merited more than just the solitary goal, which came when Paul McGinn’s attempted cross found its way into the net.

“It was a good build-up and he has put in the cross and we have got a little fortunate,†the Dens boss added. Sometimes you get these goals in games. But I don’t think our keeper Scott Bain had a save to make the whole match. We were dominant from start to finish.

“It was a good performance on a tricky pitch and I thought we were comfortable. I would have liked a second goal but it didn’t come and we held out well and it was a strong team performance.â€

Next up is another difficult trip to one of the teams at the wrong end of the table, yet Hartley remains confident of extending the recent run with a win at Ross County.

“Our away record has been good because we have a certain way we play,†he continued. “We are eight unbeaten and the boys are determined to keep that going. Hopefully we make it nine on Saturday against Ross County but it will be tough because Jim McIntyre has really picked up his team in recent weeks.

“Kosta (Gadzhalov) might be back, along with Luka (Tankulic) but we probably won’t know until Thursday. After the Ross County game it gives us a period of time to get everybody fit. When we do we will have a very strong squad to choose from.â€

After the trip to Dingwall this weekend, Dundee are facing more than three weeks of inaction with their next scheduled game not until March 23’s home encounter with Aberdeen. So with that in mind, Hartley is still working on trying to secure some friendly fixtures to keep his squad ticking over.

He commented: “We are trying to get a couple of games down the road but it isn’t easy because teams are also playing. It is not an ideal situation for myself or the players. We want to keep momentum going and we are trying to sort out games.â€

Hartley will be hoping to have three points in the bag before settling down to watch Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash between Celtic and Aberdeen, and he is expecting to see a tight encounter between the Premiership’s two in-form teams.

“I think it’s definitely good for the league that we’ve had good competition,†he concluded. “Not just Aberdeen, Inverness have been strong, Dundee United obviously, but it’s got the makings of a cracking game and there should be a good atmosphere on Sunday. I definitely think it’s a hard one to call.

“Aberdeen have shown throughout the season that they are in it for the long haul. Maybe some people thought they might just dwindle away but I think with Derek’s team there and the good mentality they’ve got, they’ve got really good players and it’s got the makings of a cracking game on Sunday.â€

And asked if he thought Aberdeen could continue to push Celtic for the title post-split, he added: “Absolutely, 100%.

“I think that we’re nearly going into March and they are still in the running. They are only three points behind so they are definitely in there. I think they’ll take it all the way.â€

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