It’s been less than two months since Dundee last faced Ayr United but defender Lee Ashcroft insists the Dark Blues are a completely different prospect ahead of their meeting this weekend.
The former Kilmarnock and Dunfermline man says it would have been easy for the Dark Blues to “crumble” after the lows of that 2-0 defeat at Somerset Park.
Since then Dundee have turned the corner in their season. They lost the following match 1-0 at Premiership Hibs in the Betfred Cup but have since gone on an unbeaten run of seven games.
And Ashcroft is keen to keep that good run going as they face the Honest Men once more this weekend.
He said: “We spoke at the time that we were nowhere near the levels at Somerset Park the last time.
“Personally I wasn’t either, I was just back. But I think as a full squad we were nowhere near good enough.
“We’ve picked up since then, it would have been easy to crumble after that but we’ve been on a good run and are probably the in-form team in the league just now.
“It’s about us. We need to concentrate on ourselves, keep the standards up and get wins on the board.
“We are a different team now.
“It’s easy in football when you start winning games, it becomes a habit.
“I’ve been there on the other side with losing and that can be hard to get out of as well.
“We are on a good run at the moment.”
Dens boss James McPake admitted having Tuesday’s trip to Raith Rovers postponed came at a good time for his squad after extra-time against Bonnyrigg Rose.
Not just for fitness but getting unavailable players back in time for Saturday.
A combination of injury and coronavirus saw the Dark Blues without their three first-choice right-backs with Christie Elliott, Cammy Kerr and Jordan McGhee all out.
That saw Ashcroft pressed into action in an unfamiliar position. However, he says he was looking forward to trying out the new position even if it meant a whole lot more running.
“I think for myself playing in a new position for 120 minutes with a lot more running than I’m used to on Saturday it’s maybe a good thing the game was called off,” he said.
“I was feeling it on Sunday but we’ve had time to recover and get back at it.
“That was my first time playing there since I was a young lad.
“Before the game I was actually looking forward to it but after the game I was absolutely done in!
“I’m glad I did my job for the team, obviously it was a frustrating game but we got through in the end.
“We had a lot of the ball, their keeper made a lot of good saves and when their boy hit one off his own bar you wonder whether the goal is going to come.
“We scored late and then lost another penalty and it is hard to keep yourself going but we did it and managed to go and get the win.”
Ashcroft, like many others, was full of praise for the performance of Rose goalkeeper Mark Weir after he made a string of superb saves to keep Dundee out until the 93rd minute.
The defender, though, admits the Dark Blues fell below their recent standards but insists it’s a sign of their new-found character they found a way to win through to the next round.
Ashcroft added: “I said to the goalie after the game that he was outstanding. It would’ve been frustrating for them to lose out.
“They came and made it hard for us. We never started well at all and they got in our faces.
“We were second to second balls which we haven’t been recently and I think that’s why the manager was frustrated with us. It’s not like us.
“We weren’t at it but, at the end of the day, we ground the result out.
We said after the game that earlier in the season we’d have went on to lose that but I think there is something about us now.
“Hopefully, that keeps coming and when we aren’t at our best we can still grind out results.
“If we walked off on Saturday after a defeat it would have been a blow to us.
“You know what it is like in football, when you take a bad defeat it can affect you. But we stuck at it.
“We weren’t great, we know that, and got lucky at times.
“We need to focus on positives and that made it seven unbeaten for us. Ayr come next and hopefully we can keep the run going.”