Dundee boss refuses to point blame and urges togetherness

Dundee boss Neil McCann wants to see improvement in his side at Easter Road.

‘We’re all in this together’ is the message from Neil McCann as he searches for a way to jump-start Dundee’s stalling season.

The Dens Park gaffer has switched up training in a bid to halt their recent run of four defeats on the spin ahead of Saturday’s trip to Hibs.

The focus has been on stopping the cheap goals that have cost them in recent games and he insists that “collectively we must do things better”.

He said: “All the cogs have to work to make the big wheel go round and that’s about responsibility.

“I think our style of play has come a long way.

“I think the fans can see we’ve got something here we’re trying to do but of course we need to get the two end thirds right because the middle third has been really good.

“It’s up to me as a coach and a manager that I help them with that.

“We’ve done that this week, we’ve had a really good few days.

Dundee drew with Hibs the last time the two met at Dens Park in August.

“In this league you can’t afford to switch off.

“It showed after 40 minutes of real control in the Hamilton match but switch off for a second and you can lose a goal.

“That opening goal comes absolutely out of nothing, it wasn’t beautiful, intricate play, it was a cross from a wide area and we got done at the back post.

“With individuals that can happen so I’m not going to hang that on somebody, that’s football, we’re all humans, we switch off but collectively we must do things better.

“You look back, we could have stopped the cross, we could have stopped the ball getting to the crosser so it’s a collective thing.

“It’s important for those guys to know I’m still behind them and we’re all going to work together harder to make sure we do get it right.”

Before last week, the Dark Blues had been getting plenty of praise for the way they’d gone about their business.

The inability to take the chances created was what had been costing them and it was only a matter of time before that was put right.

Quickly, though, that lack of cutting edge left them vulnerable and Neil has been frustrated at watching his side “coughing up a few goals”.

“Clearly if you look at our game — I think our game has been so good and easy on the eye getting up to that final third,” he added.

“We’re maybe not being clinical in that final third and it’s hurting us but equally in our own back third we’re coughing up a few soft goals.

“We need to be mindful of that and we have worked on it this week.

“I’ll say it openly, I’m not about to just think the guys will get themselves out of trouble — they need my help, they need Graham Gartland’s help and we’ve adapted our training this week to just give us a little bit more time to work on those areas of the game.”

Goalkeeper Scott Bain made a surprise appearance on the bench for the Development squad on Tuesday night in their 3-1 defeat at Partick.

Neil explained: “I sent him down on Tuesday.

“Clearly young Cal (Ferrie) played, Kyle (Gourlay’s) out at Airdrie on loan so he can’t play development games.

“Elliott’s been involved in it but I sent Scott down to sit on the bench just in case but he was just there on a watching brief.”

Neil also had words for former Hearts team-mate Stefano Salvatori who sadly passed away at the age of 49 this week.

“It’s tragic news. It was a shocker.

“He was such a brilliant team-mate and I’m so sad he’s passed.

“He was quiet and unassuming in his performances but he was vital to us in that cracking year of 1997/98 so he’ll always be remembered.”