Dundee boss James McPake expects his players to give the club’s fans something back in the last few months of the season as they target a second-place finish.
It’s been a trying first season as a manager for the 35-year-old at Dens Park with form and fortunes of his side fluctuating from week to week.
After two positive results in their last two outings – a 1-1 draw at Cappielow against Morton followed up by a commanding 2-0 success over bottom side Partick Thistle – the Dark Blues gaffer is hard at work trying to stretch those reults into an extended run of form that can see Dundee earn themselves a place in the end-of-season play-offs.
At times, the club’s fans have voiced their frustration at the team’s inability to prove any sort of challenge to runaway leaders Dundee United.
James understands that but was pleased to see another side to the home support in last weekend’s win over the Jags.
“We gave them a reason to get behind us,” he said.
“Early in the game, Kane Hemmings chased a ball down, it rebounds off the defender and we get a throw-in – everybody is buzzing just because Kano chased a ball.
“The supporters are then up for it and they see the players are up for it, too, with balls into the box early on.”
That was a prime example of the players getting the crowd onside and the manager is demanding more of that, particularly with four home games coming up in the six matches after next Saturday’s trip to Queen of the South.
Arbroath and Alloa are a home double-header before Dunfermline and then Queens check in to Dens before the end of March.
“We have to give them something to be proud of – I said as much in my first interview,” he added.
“I think last Saturday the fans were proud of their team.
“We might not have knocked the ball about or played as fluently as we have this season but we got the three points and came away with a clean sheet and looked really comfortable.
“The fans will have walked away really happy.
“I think that was probably the first time at Dens this season where they walked away saying ‘it was good today’.
“We have to do that, it has to come from us.
“The fans will help us when it’s backs to the wall but we need to give them something.
“Last Saturday we did.”