Dundee head for Morton on Saturday seeking solace in what has been a dreadfully-inconsistent season to date.
In the sides’ last meeting, a 2-1 win for the Dark Blues at Dens Park back at the start of November (see video below), it seemed they were finally getting their campaign on track.
It was their third victory in a row after Ayr United were downed and Alloa swatted aside as they clung on to hopes of catching rivals Dundee United at the top, just three points ahead of them in third.
However, it has largely been downhill since then, with five defeats in their last nine Championship games opening that gap to a 24-point chasm and signalling the Dee’s worst run of the season.
The first was a gutless 2-0 derby defeat at Dens, followed by a drab 1-0 loss in Inverness and the throwing away of a point in the 2-1 home loss against Queen of the South.
There were, of course, wins over Dunfermline and Partick and draws earned against United and Arbroath which suggested their dip was only to be brief.
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However, it was a mini run they never built on as their displays have become increasingly alarming.
Their performances have, arguably, been tougher to take than their poor form, with James McPake’s men struggling to make an impression on games on an almost weekly basis.
That all seemed to culminate at East End Park last Friday night as they slumped to a dismal 2-0 defeat against Dunfermline without laying a glove on the hosts (see below).
Dundee never got started in Fife as the Pars closed the gap on them in fourth spot to just one point.
The result only heaped the pressure on Dee boss James after recent losses against Caley Thistle and Motherwell in the Scottish Cup.
Instead of, at one point, potentially moving up the table, they are now in danger of dropping out of the promotion play-offs and looking down it.
In the same period since early November, Dundee have picked up just eight points compared to the Tangerines’ 29.
Although, it is hard to compare the pair now, at one point it didn’t seem there wasn’t a lot between the sides and, certainly before the season began, the city duo were sizing each other up as second-tier title rivals.
Now, the Dee are as close to Alloa in the relegation play-off spot as they are to Ayr five points above them in third.
Simply put, Dundee’s run of form since that late win over Morton has been awful.
And, the kind of malaise the Dens men are experiencing, and worse, is something David Hopkin’s Morton have been no strangers to over the course of term.
However, in recent times, they have turned it around and, by all accounts, are full of confidence as they aim to push up the league table.
With that, any hopes the out-of-sorts Dark Blues may find comfort to be had or the spark they have lost at Cappielow could be misguided.
The Greenock men have won three of their last five league games, including an impressive 1-1 draw at Tannadice last weekend (see below).
They hadn’t won an away league game all season until this run brought success on the road at Alloa and Arbroath. And a home win over Dunfermline shows their form in Inverclyde is just as good as it’s ever been.
Morton finding their feet both home and away makes what is always a difficult trip an even stiffer test for Dundee.
Win and their quest for consistency starts anew – lose and the Dee and McPake could be staring down the barrel.