Dundee manager James McPake admits there is “a special feel” about Dens Park this week as the Scottish Cup comes around.
The Dark Blues’ recent record in the competition hasn’t had too many high points but that isn’t stopping James looking forward to enjoying his first taste of the competition as a manager.
As a player, he scored in a Scottish Cup Final defeat while playing for Hibs and is keen for his players to enjoy a similar run in the competition under his watch as boss.
He said: “It is the old cliche, ‘the romance of the Scottish Cup’ but there is a special feel to it.
“Motherwell are expected to come here and win as they are the Premiership club but we will have a right go and we can’t wait for it.
“We will be facing an opposition that’s different from what we normally face in terms of they will come here with a real attacking threat.
“The only other two teams who have done that this season are Dundee United and Ayr United.
“Motherwell will be the same –they will just come out and have a right go like they do when they go to the likes of Celtic Park.
“That’s the way they play. I like watching them when they go forward but we need to find a way to hurt them with our style of play as well.
“It should be a good game for people to watch.”
Saturday’s visitors Motherwell have enjoyed an impressive season in the top flight, sitting in the best-of-the-rest position in third behind the runaway top two of Rangers and Celtic.
Stephen Robinson has been in charge at Fir Park for almost three years now and has overseen an upwards trajectory of the club.
Dens boss James, though, isn’t shocked to see the Steelmen flying high this term, however.
He added: “No, it hasn’t surprised me.
“You can see why the manager has been successful with his recruitment and the way they play.
“They can beat any team in that league from what I’ve seen of them this season.”
This season is Motherwell’s 35th in the top-flight after last playing in the second tier in 1985.
And that sort of longevity at the top table of Scottish football is something Dundee should be enjoying, according to their manager.
James added: “They have been in that league for as long as I can remember.
“I said this at the start of the season – five years isn’t long enough for a club like ours to be in the Premiership (Dundee’s last stay in the top division).
“People were saying we had a good run at it but no we didn’t.
“We should be in it every year – as should our neighbours.
“When you look at Scottish football, you want the derbies.
“It was horrible when Hearts and Hibs weren’t in the same league so you didn’t have the Edinburgh derbies and it was the same when Rangers and Celtic weren’t in the same league.
“The Dundee one is all right just now because we are both in the Championship.
“But, for me, you want the better games in your top league.
“But going back to that question, yes, we want to be a club that can sustain a position in the top league for 10 years or beyond.
“Looking back at Motherwell, to be there from 1985 is a long time staying in a league.
“We did five – it is not enough.
“We need to get back up and stay there.
“The problem is, there are loads of teams saying that.
“Not many can do it so credit to Motherwell.”
Kick off on Saturday is 7.20pm at Dens Park with the match shown live on BBC Scotland.