Dundee favourite Les Barr believes new manager James McPake is the man to lead the club back to the big time.
Dark Blues cult hero Barr, now 66, played for the club from 1978 to 1982 after growing up as a boyhood Dee.
The right-back experienced two promotions from the second tier in 1979 and ’81, with relegation in between, and a 1980 League Cup Final defeat to Dundee United at Dens Park in his 129 appearances.
He is, therefore, a man qualified in commenting on the ups and downs at the club.
Now, facing at least next season in the Championship, the former Montrose and Stobswell Juniors man – famed for his move ‘the Les Barr shuffle’ – hopes former Dark Blues player and coach McPake can lead the club back to the Premiership and keep them there.
“I think this Dundee team can do it, I hope so. They have the right guy in James McPake in charge,” Barr said.
“His problem is he is going to have to keep players on permanent deals. Jim McIntyre had a lot of loan players and that was part of the problem, I think.
“He (McPake) has the club at heart and I hope they can come up. The same goes for Dundee United.
“However, United are a fine example of finding it hard to go up and keep players.
“It’s hard to explain but teams try to stop you playing more than play against you.
“I think Dundee have a core of players and I love what McPake said when he was unveiled that the hard work starts from now.
“And I think, if they go back up, they will be there for a while but it’s tough in the Championship.
“Even with the players they have now, they have Premiership experience in Paul McGowan and Cammy Kerr, etc.
“Last season there were large were periods where they struggled with scoring goals and, when that happens, you start to lose more as well. Getting a good start will be important.
“You are going to get a bad period but a good start will stand them in good stead if they have ambitions of promotion.”
Barr’s affiliation with the club and playing position often draw comparisons to fellow-Dundee fan and full-back Cammy Kerr.
The 23-year-old recently penned a new two-year to stay at Dens Park and Barr has hailed him for making that decision.
He added: “It just shows you the ambition Cammy has to stay with the club.
“I relate to that strength of feeling because when I was young I would watch Dundee and I was, like him, lucky enough to play as well.
“It is the greatest feeling ever to play for your home town team and pull on that dark blue jersey. It takes a lot to be a professional footballer, though, and people have to respect Cammy.
“He has dedication and looks after himself, no hanging around with the wrong types or late nights drinking.
“He’s a professional.”
Although he’d rather it be in the top tier, Barr is looking forward to the return of Dundee derbies next term.
He added: “There is nothing like them. The build up to the games is brilliant.
“The banter in work places is great, you accept the kidding on and I don’t think the fans take the rivalry as seriously as in the west – which is a good thing.
“The rivalry is very different. The fans get it but I think, in my time certainly, players, managers and back-room teams on both sides did, too.
“That’s the good thing with McPake. He know how much it means to the fans. He’ll have them playing the right way. Even if you get beat 2-1 and give your lot, the fans accept it.
“His appointment has been a bit of a wake up.”