Just five matches remain in the Championship – are Dundee coming good at the right time?
Three league wins on the spin may have come too late to have a realistic chance of catching Hearts in first place, even if the Jambos are stuttering themselves.
Eleven points behind with 15 to play for, a monumental collapse is needed for Robbie Neilson’s men to give up the trophy.
After seeing a title tilt fail to materialise, targets switched to a second-place finish and a go at the play-offs.
Now an upturn in form sees that goal begin to home into view.
Turning negative into a positive
Just three weeks ago, a flat performance in a 3-1 loss to Ayr United at Dens Park had seemed to deflate any lingering hopes of promotion this season
It also piled the pressure on manager James McPake.
However, rather than feel sorry for themselves, the Dark Blues have turned that negative into a positive.
In the process, they have created a platform to attack the business end of the campaign.
That was clearly demonstrated by the 3-0 win over that same Ayr side on Tuesday night.
McPake himself said that after victory at Somerset Park: “When they came to Dens last month they caught us cold and I think that’s the best thing that has happened to us because we haven’t been like that again since.”
The difference between the two performances against the Honest Men was stark – at Dens they were bullied, at Somerset they stood up strong.
Where Dundee have so often fallen down this term has been in defence.
That’s now three clean sheets in the last five league games and they are clearly reaping the rewards.
Ayr had their moments and edged the first half in midweek but failed to open up the visiting defence – that foundation then gave the Dark Blues the opportunity to take the game away from the home side late on.
Quality from Jason Cummings and Max Anderson for the opening goal and then super skill from Paul McGowan for the third earned a key victory.
In doing so, Dundee showed two sides to their play that could prove vital heading into May.
Win the fight first and then show your quality in front of goal – that’s the recipe for success in the Championship.
The big question now is whether Dundee can sustain this form in the coming weeks.
They’ve been a patchy side throughout McPake’s reign.
Finally putting together a sustained run of consistent performances will give them a shot at promotion – that’s the task now going into the final five matches.
Strangely the dismal nature of last month’s defeat to Ayr has proved an unlikely launchpad for Dundee’s promotion hopes.
Will it be the same old lurch back into mediocrity? Or can McPake’s men achieve the escape velocity that sees them out of the Championship and into the heady heights of the top-flight?
It’s in their own hands now.