‘Changing times’ at Dundee says midfielder Mark O’Hara

Mark O’Hara leaves former Dee John Baird trailing in his wake during Tuesday’s 1-0 Scottish Cup win at Inverness.

Mark O’Hara says wins over Hamilton and Inverness are a sign of “changing times” at Dundee — and he’s determined to make it three wins in a week against Ross County today.

In a week where key players Jack Hendry and Scott Allan left the club, and Simon Murray came in, there’s been obvious changes to the playing squad but O’Hara insists the last two games have shown a change of attitude throughout the entire squad.

A 2-1 win over bogey side Hamilton at the weekend was followed up with a battling 1-0 Scottish Cup replay win in horrendous conditions in Inverness.

With wind and rain pelting the players and a heavy pitch making passing difficult, O’Hara says the victory showed a different side of the Dark Blues.

He said: “Conditions weren’t great — I don’t think it could be much worse, a boggy pitch and windy!

“It didn’t really suit our style but we had to adapt and we did that.

“At Hamilton as well, the pitch isn’t ideal and a difficult team, so we’ve shown twice in a row we’ve shown we can mix it up a bit.

Mark O’Hara grabbed the opening goal when Dundee beat Ross County 2-0 in Dingwall earlier in the season.

“Maybe that’s something that’s been lacking.

“At the start of the season anyway our football was good but we didn’t get results. However, we’ve shown this week we can do the ugly side of things well and get two good results.

“We tried to play football in their half because our style is to play from the back but it really wasn’t on on that pitch. There was a lot of running and hard work off the ball rather than trying to dominate possession.

“The main thing was to get through, though, and thankfully we did.”

Tuesday night’s victory was Dundee’s first-ever at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, a run going back 11 games.

“I didn’t know that — that’s a surprise!” said O’Hara.

“Hopefully, that’s a sign of the changing times at the club and we can kick on from here.

“Every team wants a good run and to get to Hampden — that’s something I’ve, personally, never done and that’s a goal of mine.

“We’ve got a home tie in the next round and we’re, hopefully, going to kick on again and get to the next stage.”

O’Hara has been in superb goalscoring form this season, finding the net six times — including a fine strike against Ross County back in December.

The midfielder sees today as a great chance to make it three wins on the bounce to kick off their quest for a top-half place.

He said: “Today is a massive one. We want to be in the top six and it’s a must-win game if we want to do that.

“We’re not focusing on teams below us but we see it as a chance to climb the table and catch the teams in front.

“Since I’ve been here I can’t remember winning three-in-a-row so that’s something we want to do.

“It would really kick our season on.

“Now we’re showing we can mix it up and we’ve got guts so, hopefully, we can get three wins in a row.”

O’Hara revealed he’d been struggling with illness over the winter break with a bout of tonsolitis spoiling his time off.

He said: “I feel a lot better now but it was a nightmare to start off with.

“The first week of training was brutal because I’d been ill the whole break.

“I’m fine now, feeling fit and, to be honest, my body feels fine considering the amount of games.”

With his contract at Dens ending this summer and talks having started over a month ago, O’Hara is keen to get a deal done to extend his stay.

“It’s not been resolved but, hopefully, will be in the next week or so,” he added.

“It’s been dragging on a bit but, hopefully, it’ll be sorted soon.”