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Nick Ross: Dundee determined not to pay the penalty again


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Nick Ross says not one of the Dundee squad had put in any penalty practice this summer.

But, after last Saturday’s shoot-out loss to East Fife, the training ground has been awash with Dark Blues boys trying their luck from 12 yards, just in case they are needed to step up against Dumbarton.

“No one practised,” said Ross in relation to last weekend’s 1-1 draw, which was then followed by a 4-2 bonus-point penalty loss.

“There was no team thing where everyone was doing penalties.

“After last weekend there have been a lot more players staying behind to practise their penalty taking.

“We missed a couple — maybe we should have done a bit more practising. It is a lottery, of course.

“In a way you never go into games expecting penalties because they are so rare. That is not the case in this competition, though.

“It is totally bizarre talking about serious football and penalty shoot-outs this early but we just have to get on with it.”

Even though many punters have reacted positively to the new-look Betfred League Cup, Ross is not the biggest fan of the format.

Nick Ross third right) looks on dejectedly as Dundee lose the shoot-out in Methil.Nick Ross third right) looks on dejectedly as Dundee lose the shoot-out in Methil.

He reckons because of the way games are set out, with a potential bonus point coming if you win a shoot-out, too many teams know that if they sit back with a negative mentality they can prosper.

Ross is also of the belief that the new competition format has meant Dundee have taken more criticism than they deserve for effectively drawing a game that, any other year, would have been in pre-season.

“There has been some negativity about,” said Ross.

“I could hear a lot of the fans were not happy after the game as well.

“There were some boos — that’s fair enough. But at the end of the day people need to remember it was our first game. It’s still basically pre-season.

“We are still trying to get our fitness and we are into competitive games. We also have a load of new boys still trying to settle in.

“This is the same for every team, of course, but it is far from ideal.

“We were beaten on penalties but ultimately drew the game overall.

“If it wasn’t for the format, people would not be complaining with an opening-day draw.”

Ahead of the visit of the Sons to Dens Park, Ross is urging fans to show patience.

The Group A table may not look too clever right now, especially after the Fifers beat Dumbarton in the week to stretch a four-point margin between themselves and Dundee.

But Ross says no one needs to panic just yet.

“There are still three games to play, all of which we are looking to win,” he said.

“We are still well in this competition.”

Despite a 0-0 draw in the Scottish Cup earlier this year, Dundee have since beaten the Sons twice on the bounce — a 5-0 replay win and a 2-1 friendly win in the west earlier this summer.

Ross thinks that definitely gives the Dark Blues the upper hand, although he knows the fact the Sons will almost certainly be knocked out if they don’t win makes their task far from straightforward.

“We have already beaten them this summer and played them twice last year,” he said.

“We know how difficult it will be against them.

“They might not have won a game but neither have we.

“They might well be out if they lose so they might have to go for it. That would suit us.

“It may not work out that way, though. We may need to be work hard to break them down.

“We will need to be patient and the fans might have to be, also.”

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