Dundee boss Neil McCann imprints new identity on his young team

Dundee manager Neil McCann celebrates victory over Hearts.

Dundee manager Neil McCann was full of praise for his players after the way they executed a new style of play and formation.

The Dark Blues set-up in a 3-5-2 formation for their 2-1 win over Hearts on Saturday and were intent on playing a passing game.

Often they started attacks from Scott Bain in goal and built from the back through young centre-backs Jack Hendry and, brace hero, Kerr Waddell.

Despite murmurings of discontent from the home support, Neil insists he was pleased with how they implemented the new identity.

“I was implementing a new shape on Saturday and with a new shape you need to work on it,” Neil said.

“You can’t just throw young boys out and expect it to happen.

“In the first-half I thought we were excellent. We were so brave.

“I could hear the fans getting really upset because we were trying to work it from the back but we’ve got three real experienced, big boys at the back.

“Although we had (Sofien) Moussa up top, I wanted to play a passing game, they were so brave in getting out and eventually Hearts couldn’t cope with it.

“The boys deserved it because so many times this season we haven’t got the rewards I think we’ve deserved and, although Hearts put pressure on us and made lots of chances, our goalkeeper was superb.

“I’m not going to kid anyone on and say that the second-half was comfortable for us because Hearts really pushed us, they’re a good side, but we weathered the storm.

“We went two up top because we were trying to force them back rather than just sitting back and trying to get a point.

“That’s not what we’re about here, we want to win games and push ourselves up the table.”

Both of the Dee goals came from corners with Waddell crashing home two powerful headers.

After being caught out defending set-pieces so often this season, Neil was delighted to see Dundee turn the tables on an opponent.

He added: “We watched Hearts against Partick Thistle and they’re not shrinking violets so we knew we needed to fight our corner.

“I picked a physical side and I’ve worked on set-pieces, which have cost us this season, but I’m pleased we’ve scored two of our own.”