Dundee winger Declan McDaid has hailed the togetherness in the squad as they head to Ayr tonight for a crucial Championship clash.
The Dark Blues have been in good form of late, winning three of their last four in the league, with the only loss in that run coming against the Honest Men at Dens.
Somerset Park is the venue this evening and the stakes are even higher for the Dee as they attempt to strengthen their position in the promotion play-off spots.
Three points behind Raith Rovers in second spot, Dundee will be aiming to draw level with the Kirkcadly men and continue their positive run.
For former Ayr wide man McDaid, their upturn in fortunes couldn’t have come at a better time with six games of the regular season left to play.
“It’s hard to put your finger on what’s changed,” the 25-year-old said.
“We are scoring more and conceding less, which is a huge thing.
“There is a togetherness among us, it’s the right time of the season to be hitting form so the challenge is to keep it going through the play-offs.
“Earlier in the season I wouldn’t say we were getting deflated but we were frustrated at not picking up enough wins.
“Now, though, we just pick ourselves up and get back on it again – and there’s not much time to dwell on things because the games are coming thick and fast.
“If you do have a bad result there is another game just around the corner, so you get a chance to put it right.
“We have a fully-fit squad, everyone is raring to go and there is a real togetherness.”
Bunched-up Championship means there’s always plenty to play for
It’s tight in the second tier this term, it always is, but particularly so this time around.
With just eight points separating Dundee in third and second-bottom Arbroath, McDaid knows how crucial each match is as they eye up second spot and an easier route through the post-season.
He continued: “I think we’ve picked up a good bit of form lately, it’s a great time to do it going into the final phase of the season.
“We want to keep it going and pick up more wins because the league is very tight, it’s mad actually.
“There are so many teams who will still fancy their chances of making it to the play-offs so there’s loads to play for.
🏆 Scottish Championship table pic.twitter.com/2Y9QZeXjHg
— SPFL (@spfl) April 3, 2021
“All we can do is focus on ourselves, try to keep this run going and hope we can be sitting in second when the end of the season comes.
“Getting second is massive in the play-offs because of the way it’s structured and getting an extra week to prepare.
“You need that break because playing two games less gives you a far better chance.
“I played in them with Ayr in the first round, you finish the league and it’s straight into it Tuesday and then Saturday.
“We got knocked out in the first round, but it’s so difficult even if you win that one because you have so many more games in a short period.
“So missing those games would be huge, you want to be watching the other teams play while getting ready for it yourself.”
Dee taking positives from St Johnstone cup display
Avenging that 3-1 defeat in Ayrshire last month is also in the minds of James McPake’s men, admits McDaid.
He hopes a positive performance against St Johnstone at the weekend, despite losing 1-0 and being dumped out of the Scottish Cup, can give the Dark Blues confidence headed west.
“We are, obviously, gutted to go out of the cup but we can take a lot from the way we played,” McDaid added.
“In the second half, especially, we created a lot of chances and were just so unlucky we didn’t get a goal.
“So we have to take that on now and build on that performance against Ayr.
“We want to play better than the last time when they came up to Dundee and got a win.
“We were poor that night so we have to improve on that.”
McDaid loving life at Dens after botched Partick move
McDaid, who was due to join League One Partick Thistle on loan until the end of the season, say he is happy to be back playing at Dens.
The move to Firhill was called off, in part, because of the coronavirus shutdown of the lower league but also due to McDaid seizing his chance and cementing a spot in McPake’s starting XI.
He is relishing his role on the left flank and pleased to be proving his worth.
“I was always staying here because I have another year,” he explained.
“But I just wasn’t producing enough.
“I was just going to get a few games then come back here flying, but I’ve managed to do that by working hard and taking my chance when it comes around.
“Hopefully, I can play my part in getting us promoted now.
“We have a lot of attacking threats, I’ve been linking up with Jordan Marshall and on the other side Paul McMullan has been getting loads of assists.
“The way we are playing is really working just now, the January signings have fitted in well.
“Everyone knows about Jason Cummings and what he can do, he’s a scorer and if he gets a chance he’ll put it away.
“The squad is really good, Alex Jakubiak is on his way back, too, so that’s another quality player to come in.”