Manager James McPake says Dundee fans “would be proud of that team” after the Dark Blues put together their most accomplished performance of the season to defeat league leaders Hearts.
Any title hopes for the Dens Park club rested on getting three points against a Jambos side who boasted an eight-point lead over their hosts going into the contest.
However, McPake refused to be drawn on whether the 3-1 victory inspired by talisman Charlie Adam had opened up the title race.
Two quality crosses from Adam saw Jordan McGhee and Danny Mullen put Dundee 2-0 up at half-time before Hearts came into the game in the second half, getting a goal back through Andy Irving.
Robbie Neilson’s men, though, couldn’t get the better of Dens goalie Jack Hamilton to force an equaliser before a late penalty from Jonathan Afolabi earned a hard-fought victory that sent McPake “over the moon”.
The Dens gaffer said: “From the very first minute we set the tone with Shaun Byrne. We were excellent all night and I was really proud of my team, we showed real character.
“I’m over the moon for the level of performance.
“The performances and consistency in performances has been there recently and that’s why results are starting to turn for us.
“You can see on the pitch the boys are enjoying their football and we deserved to win that game.
“It’s another three points, six games unbeaten and we have a little break from league business.
“It’ll take that level again to progress in the cup and then another tough game midweek after that.
“We need to keep rolling and keep this run going.
“We’ve not lost a league game at Dens in a year now. For a club like Dundee in this league, that’s the way it should be.
“We’ve not been good enough at times but we are starting to show signs this club is getting back to a level that supporters can be proud of.
“I think Dundee fans will be proud of that team.
“I said to the players to imagine Dens Park being full, it would have been bouncing. That’s my only regret because I’ve played here and won big games and it is electric.”
Title race on?
The victory brings McPake’s men level on points with second-placed Dunfermline and five behind leaders Hearts, though both have an extra game to play.
Those two face each other at Tynecastle in the next Championship card of fixtures while the Dark Blues head to fourth-placed Raith Rovers next Tuesday.
However, the Dens boss said he’d let others decide whether the title race had been opened up once more by beating the Jambos while having a dig at those who had already handed the Championship crown to Robbie Neilson’s side.
McPake said: “It’s another three points and we’ll let others talk. The league was already won so…
“We’ll just keep chipping away. I think it’s disrespectful to discount Ayr United, Inverness while Dunfermline have been fantastic and Hearts started very well.
“There are other teams as well in a very competitive league.
“Does it open a title race? I’m not really bothered, I just want to keep picking up wins for Dundee.”