Dundee goalkeeper Jack Hamilton believes the solid foundations they are laying can lead to the Dee building up a head of steam for a Championship title tilt.
The Dark Blues No 1 and his defence have yet to concede a goal in regular time in the three games of their Betfred Cup Group D campaign so far.
Going into Sunday’s potential group decider with Inverness Caley Thistle at Dens Park, that record is something the 25-year-old stopper wants to keep up.
And he believes, with the help of his backline, they can be the base James McPake’s men build on as they look to clinch an instant return to the top flight.
On the back of their 4-2 bonus point penalty shootout win over Peterhead last Saturday, Hamilton said: “It’s not what we wanted. The same as last Wednesday night (against Cove). We should be going there and getting a positive result but we made it difficult for ourselves.
“Don’t get me wrong, we have to give Peterhead a wee bit of credit but we’ve got to look at ourselves and we’ve got to be better.
“It was disappointing last year but, so far, at the back this season we’ve been solid which is a credit to the boys that have come in as well.
“It’s just about building as a unit, I think. The manager, as a defender, he’s drumming into us that, if we don’t concede goals, we won’t lose games.
“We just need to start doing it at the other end of the pitch.
“As a goalkeeper, as defenders, as a team you want to keep clean sheets and that’s what we’ll aim to do to try to help the team.”
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It was a tough season for Dundee last season as they suffered automatic relegation from the Premiership in a poor manner.
Hamilton was levelled with some particularly strong criticism for some of his displays between the sticks. However, he is happy to be putting that behind him now.
He added: “It’s part and parcel, you’re always going to get criticism but you just take it on the chin and move on.
“It’s nice to get out there, take part in games and do a few good things.”
And, working up to the weekend’s clash with Inverness, the former Hearts keeper believes they will get a real sense of where they are as they take on what he expects to be a Championship rival.
“Inverness will be a tough game but we are working hard this week.
“We’ll set up and, hopefully, go out and do the business in the game.
“It will be good to play against them to see what they’re all about but we know it’s going to be a difficult year.
“We know the teams are going to be good so it’s just about how we handle it ourselves.
“If you look at some of the quality that’s come in already – Jamie Ness if we can get him back fit is a top, top player.
“I’m sure there’ll be a few more bodies added but it would be good because it’s nice to see new faces in.
“We’ve got a really good bond in the dressing-room anyway, good group of boys and we’re working to be a unit.
“It’s been a good pre-season, to be fair, the boys have worked really hard.
“We’ve worked on a lot of things and, hopefully, we build on that now and take it into the league.”
With experience of Edinburgh derbies in his time in Gorgie, Hamilton knows how much the return of Dundee derbies this term means to fans. However, he has tempered that by issuing a reminder there are 36 games over the season.
He added: “It’s a 36-game league season so we’ve got to take each game at a time and just focus on going out and getting the points.”