Dundee boss James McPake admitted he’s made mistakes this season but is delighted to have led his side to within four matches of promotion.
The Dark Blues booked their spot in the Premiership play-off semi-final after overtaking Raith Rovers on the final day.
A professional 2-0 victory at Queen of the South saw the Dens men take advantage of Raith’s home horror show against champions Hearts.
That gives Dundee next week off while Rovers and Dunfermline battle it out for the chance to face them in the semi.
With the Jambos already having lifted the trophy, McPake admits he wondered whether Robbie Neilson might field a weakened team.
However, those fears were unfounded as a full-strength Hearts swept Raith aside.
“First we had to beat Raith last weekend and then we knew we needed to do a job at Queen of the South,” the former Hibs captain said.
“It was irrelevant what happened at Raith v Hearts really. It would have been six games as opposed to four for us had Raith won.
“We now have a chance to rest a few, get a few niggles sorted.
“There’s no doubt Hearts are a club, as much as it pains me to say, should be at the top end of the Premiership.
“They’ll want to be back there and have a good squad.
“It crossed my mind what they would do for the Raith game, it’s only human nature to wonder whether they might put a weakened team out.
“But there are people there fighting for the backing of the fans, so to speak.”
‘We didn’t compete enough for my liking’
Hearts finished the season 12 points ahead of the rest and McPake admits the best side won the title.
However, he’s determined to be playing league football at Tynecastle again next season by getting Dundee up through the play-offs.
The Dundee boss added: “I would say the best team over the course of the season won the league.
“And I think the second best team finished second, the league table never lies.
“It should have been done earlier, I’ll admit that and I’ll take that. I’m happy to admit we’ve got a fair bit wrong this season.
“We’ve had misfortune with injuries and Covid but there have been decisions I’ve made that haven’t been right in certain games and I’ll take that.
“On the whole, I’m pleased. It’s been a tough season, difficult circumstances that are difficult to manage when you’ve never been a manager before.
“The first season got cut short when we were getting somewhere and then down come a massive club with a budget that’s six or seven times the size of yours and you have to compete.
“But we didn’t compete enough to my liking.
“However, on the flipside we are now four games away from joining them and I hope to be playing them next season in the Premiership.
“That’s the aim.”