Dundee manager James McPake says his side are showing the character needed to become a real force in the Championship in 2021.
The Dark Blues began the new year with an impressive 3-1 victory over runaway league leaders Hearts at Dens Park to cut the gap at the top of the table.
That now sits at five points with the Jambos having played one game less.
Though he refused to say whether the title race had opened up once more after the game on Saturday night, McPake was delighted to see his side stand up to the second half pressure at the weekend.
So far this season, Hearts have scored 30 goals in just 10 matches in the Championship and created a number of chances to level things up after Andy Irving made it 2-1 early in the second half.
However, poor finishing from Stephen Kingsley passed up their best opportunity and some “top class” saves from Jack Hamilton saw off the rest.
And the Dens boss is keen to see Hamilton – who has come under fire for mistakes earlier in the season – get the plaudits he deserves after stepping up when his team needed him.
McPake said: “Our goalkeeper made some great saves and I must give him a massive mention.
“There have been times when people have had a pop at him and he has made mistakes.
“Two of his saves on Saturday were top class and I’m delighted for him.”
McPake also hailed the defensive work of the entire team as they “stood strong” in the second half.
Losing late goals has been a weakness for the Dark Blues this season in big games.
Most notably they conceded a three-goal lead in the final 12 minutes against Dunfermline just a few weeks ago while slack defending also saw them drop two points at home to Raith Rovers early in the campaign.
And that’s where McPake was most pleased, that his side showed the kind of mettle he’s been calling out for in holding onto their lead in a match that meant so much.
He added: “I think we should have been more than two goals up but then when they got a goal back we showed character.
“I go back to that because of what happened against Dunfermline but I think we can stop talking about that now.
“We conceded a goal but we stood strong.”