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McPake: Derby Losses Have Already Motivated Dundee

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Source: The Evening Telegraph

No-nonsense centre-back James McPake says Dundee have motivation enough for next season — putting their derby record right!

The former Hibs defender admits it’s been a satisfying first season back in the Premiership after a finish in the top half of the table.

But after four defeats in the five City of Discovery derbies this campaign, McPake has called on his Dark Blue team-mates to up their game for the 2015-16 season.

The Northern Irish cap scored in Dundee’s only success over their city rivals at the start of April at Dens but was disappointed at the defensive showing on the final day of the season on Sunday as the Dark Blues fell to a 3-0 defeat.

“I would agree with the manager that we played OK but we lost three poor goals,†he said. “That was the disappointing thing. Going to Tannadice for a derby you need to be solid — and we certainly weren’t. Let’s not take away we’ve had a decent enough season with the club coming out of the Championship. The team did well to win that and coming into the Premiership, if you’d offered every Dundee fan top six and the season we’ve had they’d have taken it, no doubt they would have taken your hand off.

“The disappointing things have been the derbies, especially the two down at Tannadice, 6-2 and then Sunday — that’s the motivation already for the start of next season. We need to try to put that right.â€

Dundee’s record in the derby this season has made grim reading for Dark Blues fans with the four league games and League Cup third-round bringing four defeats with 15 goals conceded and six scored. Manager Paul Hartley, though, has quickly looked to improve the squad at both ends with five players already tied up on pre-contract deals. Mainly players with Championship experience but all very well thought of by their current clubs, Dundee fans will be looking for the derbies to go a bit more their way next campaign with a fresh look to next season’s squad.

And, for McPake, he sees a bright — and big — future for the playing squad.

He said: “Looking at the signings the manager has made already I’m excited and I’m sure the dressing-room is excited. You can see already we’re going to be a big team.â€

Defensively, the manager has added Alloa’s Daryll Meggatt — a player he knows well from his days as boss at Recreation Park — and, although Meggatt has been used mainly as a full-back for the Championship club, Paul Hartley has suggested he will come into the club at centre-back.

Kevin Holt, an attacking left-back, has agreed personal terms at Dens but former club Queen of the South are yet to agree a fee with his new employers. Holt has played at full-back and on the left wing this season for Queens and is strong in the air as well as having quick feet — he also rattled in a free-kick against Rangers in December.

The only player signed with Premiership experience is Aberdeen’s Nicky Low — another who has 
previously played under Hartley when on loan at Alloa — having played 28 league games.

Up front, Rory Loy will add guile, and Kane Hemmings’ pace can be a perfect foil for former strike partner Greg Stewart when the two are re-united.

McPake’s excitement at the prospect of next season is well-founded — although it remains to be seen if all of the new signings can make the step up and push the Dark Blues to another top-six finish — and maybe a few more derby wins to boot.

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