Liam Fontaine has urged his Dundee team-mates to put in the “hard graft” as they look to gain promotion to the Premiership.
The Dark Blues travel to Ayr tomorrow night and welcome Morton to Dens Park on Saturday in what is a huge week for the club’s Championship campaign.
Centre-half Fontaine has called it “the business end of the season” as they head into the final six games before the play-offs.
With Hearts running away with the title, the Dee are aiming for second spot to give themselves the best chance of beating top-flight opposition in the post-season.
Despite the 1-0 defeat, Fontaine insists Dundee can take heart from their Scottish Cup performance at home to St Johnstone on Saturday.
He believes it shows they can compete with top-tier opposition on their day as they look to end the season strong.
‘The motivation is always there to get to the top league’
“When we’ve played against Premiership teams, even when we played Hibs earlier in the season (in the Betfred Cup), I think we’ve given them good games,” the 35-year-old said.
“We’ve got to do the hard graft in the league we’re in at the moment.
“We’ve got to put performances in like that week in, week out and be consistent.
“We keep saying it but we have to keep our performances up there each game so we’ll recover now for a big game tomorrow.
“The motivation is always there to get to the top league, whatever country you play in.
“We’re in a good position at the moment, we’ve just got to win our games and, hopefully, we can secure a play-off spot and push on from there.”
Currently sitting in third spot in the second-tier standings, three points behind Raith Rovers, Fontaine knows the importance of the Dee’s run-in.
He believes they have enough quality in the squad to achieve their goals and is happy to have linked up at Dens Park – looking to secure a third Championship promotion of his career.
The former Hibs and Ross County man continued: “It’s the business end of the season, we’re in a good position and, if we can perform consistently like that and bring that work-rate and creativity, we’ll be well placed.
“When I was out of contract I had a few options but I wanted to go somewhere that, one, it was a good club, two, there was a squad being built there and, three, the manager.
“We’ve got a good squad here, young players with good energy and I think from Saturday you can see they can cause anyone problems.
“St Johnstone are a very, very good team at keeping people out and, yeah, we didn’t score on Saturday but the chances were there and on another day we score goals and progress.”
Fontaine feeling hard done by after cup exit at the hands of Premiership St Johnstone
As for their cup exit at the hands of Callum Davidson’s Perth men, thanks to a goal from Guy Melamed, Fontaine felt a little hard done by.
The Dark Blues competed well with the top-six, Betfred Cup-winning Saints, particularly in the second half.
Danny Mullen saw a goal chalked off for offside, though there was some confusion with some believing it was ruled out for a foul on away goalkeeper Zander Clark.
Clark then gave away a penalty as he clattered Mullen inside the area. However, the Saints stopper made amends, stooping low to this left to deny Charlie Adam from 12 yards.
Fontaine believes on another day those moments would have gone Dundee’s way in a match they dominated.
“I thought it was a good cup tie and we left everything out there,” he added.
“On another day we progress. We created quite a few chances and if the penalty goes in or the goal is given that was chalked off we’re in the next round.
“Apart from that, it was a positive performance from our point of view.
“Penalty stops happen and the goalie made a good save.
“It’s more the time it took before the goal was chalked off.
“There wasn’t really a certain decision. It’s disappointing but we didn’t let it effect us.
“We kept going and went for it and, like I said, on another day we at least go to extra time.”