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NEWS: New Dundee assistant manager Dave Mackay regrets the circumstances surrounding his promotion

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Dundee assistant boss Dave Mackay believes it was a “shame” the way his promotion came about.

Mackay had been first team coach at Dens Park before the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus saw cutbacks made to the backroom team.

Jimmy Nicholl, who had hitherto been manager James McPake’s number two, left the Dark Blues in June along with sports scientist Cammy McDermid.

With the club in deep freeze due to the pandemic, Mackay didn’t officially replace experienced Northern Irishman Nicholl until late last month.

He has subsequently been right in the thick of things on the training pitch, with the players now back for their pre-season work.

While enjoying his new post, Mackay wishes it had happened differently.

Taking to the club’s Dee TV, he said: “It is an honour to be back at the club and to be assistant manager and I will do whatever I can to help James.

“It is a shame the way it happened, obviously with Jimmy losing his job and Cammy away as well as other members of staff.

“It is not the way you would want something like that to happen.

“It is what it is and we just need to get on with it.

“My job now is to support the manager and the players as much as I can.

“My role won’t change too much from before. I was trying to help Jimmy and James as much as I could last season.

“There will be subtle changes, though, and I took on some different roles last season that I maybe won’t be able to do this season.

“But it is an honour and I will do whatever I can to help James.”

Mackay reported the players have returned in “great shape” for pre-season, despite such a lengthy, enforced lay-off.

Now the focus is on being ready for the first competitive fixture, which is against Forfar in the Betfred Cup group stages at Dens on October 6.

He added: “It has been a good start.

“The boys are looking very fit, as we expected.

“They had a programme to follow over the summer and they have come back in great shape.

“Now it’s about doing the little bit of work that needs to be done.

“Most of it is going to be work with the ball, especially from next week.

“We can start preparing the team for the friendlies coming up.”

Covid-19, of course, has ensured that the working environment will be a lot different for the players from what they have experienced in previous years.

For example, Mackay highlighted the need to get used to playing at Dens without supporters.

He added: It is important to be back at the stadium for a few reasons.

“For a start, just to get the boys back on the grass surface.

“They need to get familiar with it again and we are going to be playing a lot of games here with no crowds.

“The earlier we can get them used to playing here when it’s like that the better it will be.”

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