Dundee manager James McPake insists it’s irrelevant if he and old rival Robbie Neilson face off for the Championship crown next season.
McPake is set to meet former Dundee United adversary Neilson after his exit from Tannadice for Tynecastle a week past Sunday.
The two met three times last term, with Neilson’s Tangerines coming out on top twice and the other match a 1-1 draw.
McPake’s Dark Blues finished well off the Terrors’ title-winning pace and he will be hoping to get closer to Neilson next term after the Jambos’ Premiership drop.
However, the Dee gaffer insists it doesn’t matter who he’s facing in the opposite dugout. All he’s concerned about is picking up results.
“It’s the same as any other team or manager. There’s more to this league than Dundee and Hearts,” he said.
“It will be a big fixture, I get that. Tynecastle is a great venue to good and play football with a good atmosphere.
“When you go there and it’s full it’s a really hostile environment which is good to play in, in my opinion.
“People like being involved in these occasions so it doesn’t matter if it’s Robbie Neilson in the dugout.
“I’ll be going up against Mark Kerr or Dick Campbell the same way. My job is to go and try to win a game of football for Dundee.
“It doesn’t matter who’s across from me. My complete focus is on Dundee.”
It was a third-placed finish for Dundee in McPake’s rookie season in the hot seat.
There were highs and lows in a campaign marred by inconsistency and McPake admits he is still to fully prove himself as a manager.
He is not concerned, however. Instead, he is eager to learn from the likes of Gordon Strachan and Jimmy Nicholl going into his second year in charge.
He added: “Everyone’s always trying to prove themselves, whether it’s myself or any of the older managers in the game.
“It’s the same when you’re a player, you want to prove people wrong.
“Sometimes as a manager there’s bad results and bad times. You want to prove that you can turn that around.
“You want to show people you can be a success and that will continue for me for as long as I’m in the game because that’s the way I was as a player.
“I’ve got great people around me so I’ll be taking their advice and using that as well. I’ll never be afraid to ask for that and take a look at myself either.”
Meanwhile, Paul McGowan has agreed to take a 50-per-cent pay cut to help the club during its financial crisis.
The midfielder last week signed a new deal which will see his wages drop by half for the next three months before going up to 75 per cent until the end of next season.
Fans’ favourite McGowan, who joined Dundee in 2014, was once again a key performer for the Dark Blues last season and picked up the Andrew De Vries Player of the Year award.
He is the first Dee star to agree to wage cuts after it emerged on Friday that McPake’s squad had been asked to accept salary reductions of up to 30 per cent.
It came just hours after managing director John Nelms urged fans to buy season tickets NOW to ease financial pressure on the club.
A dramatic day for Dundee also saw assistant boss Jimmy Nicholl and first-team sports scientist Cammy McDermid become the first victims of cost-cutting.
Uncertainty surrounding the start of the Championship season – now set for October 17 – has seen the Dark Blues shift just 10 per cent of the season books they would normally expect to have sold at this stage of the year.
Lack of sales has contributed to a £500,000 drop in revenue.