Dundee will have to win the fight first and foremost if they are to come back from the Highlands with three points on Saturday.
That’s the challenge set to his players by Dark Blues manager James McPake as he prepares his side to take on Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Dundee’s hosts sit one place and two points above them heading into the contest on the back of three straight wins.
Inverness are unbeaten at home this campaign and have also won their last three on home turf, against Arbroath and Raith in the league and East Fife in the Betfred Cup.
Dens boss McPake, though, was delighted by the “dig” shown by his players in the second half of the 1-0 win over Arbroath last weekend.
And he says more of that can help them to victory once more this weekend.
“Every game in this league, it doesn’t matter whether it’s Arbroath at home or going to Inverness, you need to win the fight first,” he said.
“You need to roll the sleeves up and earn the right to play.
“We know we have good players but last week we showed a bit of dig as well.
“We maybe hadn’t had that enough before and that comes from everybody, not just the players.
“They showed they really could dig in when needed and I’m proud of them for that but it will take more of that on Saturday.
“We are away from home to a team coming off the back of a really good result that are above us in the table so we need to go up there and win the battle, play the way we can play and take the game to Inverness.”
McPake also expects Caley Thistle to come at Dundee from the off as he faces one of his former managers in John Robertson.
Robertson took charge of Livingston back in 2006 with both McPake and his now assistant manager at Dundee, Dave Mackay, in the Lions squad.
“Robbo plays attacking football,” said McPake.
“He coached me when I was a young kid and was my manager at Livingston so I know him very well.
“He always attacks and his teams have a go.
“They are a different team this year, though, they’ve lost a few and have brought some young players in. I know them well from my time coaching our academy.
However, my full focus is on Dundee and looking to repeat our first half from last week across a full 90 minutes.
“If we do that we’ll have a successful afternoon I believe.”
That opening 45 minutes against the Red Lichties last week is now the benchmark for McPake and his team.
And he says having a full squad to choose from has seen the standard on the training pitch upped with real competition for places for the first time this term.
McPake added: “Everything is about results but you need performances to get results.
“I thought for 45 minutes against Arbroath we were really good against a really good team.
“I was pleased with the first half and also with the second half where we stood firm when it could have got nervy.
“If it had been 3-0 at half-time then nobody talks about the second half.
“It was three points and got us back to winning ways.
“We now have more players back and the standard in training has shot up.
“Everybody now knows if they want to get in a team that can play like that it’ll be a mammoth task to get in and stay in.”
Dundee will also be playing in front of fans for the first time this term with clubs in the Highlands permitted to have 300 spectators in attendance due to being in tier one or coronavirus restrictions.
McPake will be pleased to see punters back in the stands but wishes there was one difference.
“It’s a pity it isn’t Dundee fans,” he added.
“I’m glad because it’s a sign we are getting there with the virus but I’ll be happier when we have Dundee fans in the stand.”