Dundee boss James McPake says his side’s second-half performance at Tannadice on Friday shows there shouldn’t be a difference of 17 points between the teams.
The Dark Blues made the very short trip to face rivals Dundee United on the back of two dispiriting derby defeats already this season.
Since the last one, a 2-0 loss at home, the Tangerines have raced away at the top of the Championship, leaving Dundee trailing them by 17 points after nine wins on the spin.
However, this time James was disappointed not to come away with three points after a strong second-half display that, he insists, shows why the Dark Blues are frustrated to be so far behind.
He said: “Real credit to Dundee United. I’m not coming here and saying this or that.
“They are 17 points clear of us in the league, deservedly so, so they are doing a lot right.
“They are the ones at the top of the league so credit to them but we showed why we should be so disappointed that we are so far behind.
“There is a real belief we should have come away with three points.
“Performance-wise, it was night and day from what we have given in previous derbies.
“But it is the result that is the important thing and we are disappointed that we never got all three points.
“It was important to show to our fans that we can turn up and dig in when we need to.
“I thought some of the stuff we played was brilliant. In the second half, I thought we were excellent.
“Graham Dorrans and Fin Robertson controlled everything that happened in the game.
“Disappointment is the over-riding emotion probably but I might look back over it and say: ‘You know what, a point after going behind so early is good.’
“But there is just real disappointment over how superior we were in the second half but we have not got the win.”
After Nicky Clark had put United in front after just five minutes, the away side came back into the contest after the break with Dorrans smashing in a low volley shortly after the restart to open his scoring account for the club.
James added: “It was a lovely goal.
“He has getting himself into positions where keepers are pulling off world-class saves.
“He is getting close to full fitness. His body is good and he plays 90 minutes.
“You are seeing a bit of dig, as well. There is no fear there from someone who has had two years out with a knee injury.
“I know exactly what has gone on with his knee and ankle because I have been so close to him.
“Seeing him flying into tackles, you are pleased that there is no holding back and that he’s walking away from it.
“Listen, Graham Dorrans is too good for this league. That is why we are delighted to have him.”
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The Dens gaffer is also delighted to have Dorrans around to help with the development of 17-year-old Robertson after the youngster put in an accomplished display in his first-ever Dundee derby.
“It has been a bit of a learning experience for Fin to have both Graham and Paul McGowan in the same midfield as him,” added James.
“Looking back, I probably shouldn’t have left him out of the previous derby at Tannadice.
“I’ve been advised not to say it because maybe you are doubting yourself but, looking back, I shouldn’t have done it because he has proved how consistent he can be. Big games don’t faze him.
“I put him out there because he is one of my better players and deserves it.
“He needs help but he is getting it.”