Dundee are in a difficult spot at the moment, conceding some soft goals and there’s probably a bit of pressure on James McPake right now.
I have to say that despite all that I’m not overly concerned with how the Dark Blues are shaping up.
In my experience, the issues the Dens defence is having with cross balls and set-pieces are ones that can be sorted out.
The good thing for me is with the quality of Charlie Adam around, Dundee are always going to create chances.
We saw that at Alloa on Friday night where they scored three times and could have nicked another penalty at the end.
What they can’t be doing every week is conceding goals like they did, however.
McPake and assistant Dave Mackay – both top defenders in their playing days – must be cracking up at what they’re seeing.
I watched the game back again at the weekend with my young lad and these situations are ones where video analysis really comes to the fore.
That’s where I’d expect the Dens coaching staff to be focusing.
There were times as a player where I thought I was in a decent place when we conceded but then watched the video and I wasn’t anywhere near where I should have been.
Picking up from set-pieces, too, is something you can drill into players – the first goal was a prime example.
They cleared the first ball well enough but the second one was a mess from a marking point of view.
That’s where you say ‘stay with your man for the next 20 seconds’, or however long it takes to clear.
I always taught young defenders body position to be side on so you can see the ball and the man.
Dundee didn’t do that and Robert Thomson came in at the far post free to score.
Those sorts of things can be sorted fairly simply.
They also had players like Cammy Kerr out of position which didn’t help and you could see he wasn’t so confident in central defence.
What’s good is they are creating so I’d be focusing on making the most of Adam’s set-pieces and defending them at the other end.
Put those things together and I reckon Dundee will be alright.
Losing Graham Dorrans is a bit of a blow but they have Adam there already to fill that kind of role.
I’d be looking to use that freed up wage to bring in an experienced goalie or centre-half to help out.
I’m not having a go at young Calum Ferrie but I think it’s no surprise that Hearts, Dunfermline and Raith Rovers are all doing well with very experienced keepers.
When I was young I used to do all sorts of silly things at silly times – as a goalie you get
punished far more often.
Anyway, I don’t think Dundee are too far away.
As for Friday, I was delighted to see my boy Jack on the bench.
He’s got a bit to go but it was great experience and he was chuffed when he saw the strip with his name on.
It was also a nice wee touch when Dave Mackay phoned and asked what number I was when I made my debut for Dundee – that’s why Jack wore No 20.
Friday night against St Mirren was the same old story for Dundee United.
They barely created anything but still came out of the game with a decent point.
It’s hard to grumble with that, to be honest.
I’m sure the manager isn’t too happy with that and, to be fair to him, Micky Mellon has recognised they need to be better going forward.
I do think the ongoing talks over wage cuts will have had a negative effect on the attacking side of things.
With defending, you can work on things and instil aspects into the play more easily through training.
Attacking depends more on the player playing with confidence and feeling good about themselves so they can go and express that in a positive way for the team.
With all that’s going on off the pitch, I’d expect that to take a toll.
Hopefully though, they can put together more of a threat tonight in Perth.
It’s a big game for both sides and United need a win after faltering against Peterhead.
I expect Mellon to freshen things up a bit in terms of his selection but to certainly go with a strong team.
The Tangerines maybe just need a free-scoring game, a seven-goal thriller or something, to get things going at the top end of the pitch.
The way United and St Johnstone have been going this season, that won’t be tonight, however.
Thursday night in Serbia is a massive game for Scotland.
It’s been so long since we were at a major tournament.
And I have to say I’m feeling positive about our chances.
It’s amazing how quickly things can turnaround – it wasn’t so long ago we were moaning about performances and then suddenly Steve Clarke’s side are six games unbeaten and stretching that.
I think confidence is building nicely for the players and I think we’re at the point where that will transform into performances as well as results.
Come on Scotland!