Dundee boss Neil McCann: We can aspire to Celtic’s level

Dundee boss Neil McCann knows his side will have to be on their game when Motherwell call at Dens.

For the first time since his arrival in June, Dundee boss Neil McCann has something resembling a full squad to choose from ahead of today’s Celtic clash.

With the return to fitness of defenders Josh Meekings, Julen Etxabeguren and Kosta Gadzhalov, Neil has been able to cast his eye over more players in training than usual.

Although happy with the options at his disposal, he can’t help but look west, specifically to today’s opponents, with envy.

“They’re a quality side and they’ve proven it over the years that they’re the best in the country by a stretch,” Neil said.

“It doesn’t matter who’s away, who’s fit, who’s not — they’re just a real good side and that’s the strength and depth Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers enjoys.

“It’s up to us to come up with something good enough and get a result.

“He’s only played the same team once and he wants to go into matches and keep the opposition guessing.

“That’s a great quality to have and it’s something we’re all searching for.

“There are teams throughout the league that have found a formula that works for them.

“I think any manager would rip your arm off to be able to change personnel and formations readily to keep people guessing but still have the same quality Celtic have.

© David Young
Dundee defender Josh Meekings could make his first-team debut

“I want to be in a position where I can ask the guys to change the shape and they’re not spooked by it and we don’t weaken ourselves.

“I’m absolutely delighted with the squad. When I watched training yesterday we had a massive group of players playing. We had two 10s playing in a practice match.

“It allows me to train in any shape or formula I want to, that’s what I want to strive for.

“That’ll continue, it won’t happen over a two-or-three-week period. This will go throughout the season.

“Kosta, Jules and Josh coming back can only be helpful for us.

“It’s given us strength in numbers and strength in quality. Those boys have been playing and getting themselves ready for first-team inclusion.”

Poring over his squad, Neil also found time to praise man-of-the-moment Lewis Spence.

The Dundee youngster has turned in a string of impressive performances of late, leaving Neil feeling vindicated in his decision to bring him in from Championship Dunfermline over the summer.

“He’s just a winner, he’s a great lad,” Neil added.

“I’m delighted for the boy because he’s been given an opportunity and, sometimes, young boys don’t take their chances but I feel Lewis has definitely taken his.

“He’s getting better and better, he’s grown within the group and he’s shown fans exactly why I felt he deserved that opportunity.

“He’s ideal for my team at the minute and, until he plays himself out of the team, then he’s ideal for any time I choose him.

“He’s got no fear, that’s one of his biggest attributes, and I’ve got no concern playing him.

“Spencey came into the Dunfermline side when he was only 16, 17. At the time when I was there as a coach I was pushing for Jim Jeffries to play him earlier and eventually Jim decided it was his time.

“It was good management because maybe it wasn’t quite right when I was pushing him, he benefited a lot from the period at Dunfermline playing at a young age.”