Dundee’s desire is “unbreakable at the minute” says boss James McPake after his side continued their impressive form with a 2-1 home win over Raith Rovers.
The Dark Blues are the form team in the Championship going into the final day of the regular season.
A first-half penalty from Jason Cummings was added to by a Liam Fontaine header as McPake’s men took their unbeaten run to seven matches.
Kyle Benedictus would head in from close range in the closing stages to make it 2-1 but the Dens boss had no fear his side would throw away their lead.
And he reckons they are hitting form at the perfect time with the promotion play-offs on the horizon.
McPake said: “We’re seven unbeaten in the league, we’ve been doing alright.
“Have we hit form at the right time? There is potentially seven games to go so if you give me another seven unbeaten then yes.
“I think the resilience and the desire in there among those players is unbreakable at the minute.
“They are so desperate to get this club out of this division and prove they can do that.
“We conceded a goal with five minutes to go but, hand on heart, I still felt we would see it through.
“Because there’s a steel about us right now. The performance wasn’t perfect but we have beaten a good Raith team that battered us at Starks Park not so long ago.”
The deserved victory on Saturday secured Dundee’s place in the end-of-season play-offs and crucially kept their hopes of finishing second alive.
Raith currently hold that spot after an impressive campaign from John McGlynn’s side.
However, they face champions Hearts on the final day with the Dark Blues heading to Queen of the South, a side with nothing other than pride to play for.
— Dundee Football Club (@DundeeFC) April 25, 2021
And McPake was delighted to keep the fight for second going until the final day.
“It was massive,” he said.
“We knew if we didn’t win then we couldn’t get to second and we were playing against a very good team that play attractive football and can hurt you if you allow them to.
“But it’s far from job done. Of course we celebrate, though, because we were excellent and deserved to win the game.”
On Friday’s trip to Palmerston, he added: “We need to go down there and look after ourselves. Whatever comes from the other game comes.
“If it is second place for us then great. If it’s third or fourth, great. We’ll deal with what is in front of us.
“What we have proven over the course of the season is we can beat the teams near the top and beat them quite comfortably.
“I’m not bragging because we need to be at it.
“We might have four games left, we might have six – it might only be two – but come play-off final day we want to be in it.
“The players are up for that, I’m up for that and you could see that on Saturday.”
Paul McGowan ‘made of strong stuff’
The match ended on a sour note as Raith midfielder Dylan Tait saw red for a tackle on Paul McGowan.
It was a sore one for the Dens man but McPake says it will only take a serious injury to keep McGowan out of the crucial games to come.
“Paul will be assessed but we’re thankful it was only a minute for him to keep going after we used our subs,” he added.
“If it comes back anything other than a broken leg he’ll be fine.
“He’s made of strong stuff and has one of the biggest hearts I’ve seen in football.”