Dundee midfielder Mark O’Hara out to improve on superb 2017

Mark O’Hara celebrates with A-Jay Leitch-Smith after scoring Dundee’s second goal during their 3-0 win against Partick last month.

Mark O’Hara couldn’t have wished for a better first half of the season — that, though, hasn’t stopped him putting in the extra yards to make 2018 even better.

The Dundee midfielder turned himself into a goalscoring midfielder, netting four times since the end of November.

He’s delighted with that return but is determined to ensure that’s just the start of a memorable campaign.

The former Killie man is currently in talks with the Dens hierarchy over terms of a new contract with his current deal ending in the summer and Motherwell sniffing around for his signature, too.

He’s expected to sign that before long but, with the players back in training after their winter break, nothing away from the pitch will keep him from putting the hours in on the training ground.

He said: “The last five or six games have been encouraging. I’ve had a good run in the team and have been scoring a few goals.

© David Young
Mark O’Hara takes on Ross County’s Sean Kelly in Dingwall.

“I have to thank the manager for giving me the chance but I’ve been enjoying my football recently.

“At the start of the season I was in and out of the team, then I had a wee run, and was in and out of the team again.

“I was always working hard, doing extra stuff to try to catch the manager’s eye to get back in the team.

“I always knew I would get a chance and recently I’ve taken it.

“I just turned 22 at the end of the year, so there’s still a big learning curve for me I think.

“I need to keep making improvements and to keep working hard to get better.

“The manager Neil McCann and Graham Gartland have been great with that, they’re good at identifying weaknesses and working on things specifically.

“We’ve been doing double sessions a lot, twice a week over the last month or so, working on things like that, working on finishing and killer passes forward.”

O’Hara credits the management team of McCann and Gartland with helping him reach the level he has been playing in dark blue lately.

And he expects to see Dundee rising up the Premiership table in the second half of season.

He said: “They’ve definitely made a difference. They are very particular in what they’re doing and it’s been effective for a lot of players working on the fine margins so, yeah, it’s been really good.

“Obviously, we’ve not got the results we’ve felt our performances have justified.

“We’ve made enough chances in games and maybe not got the rub of the green in the final third but the signs for long-term are very encouraging.

“It’s a great style of play we’ve got at the moment and we have been dominating teams so, hopefully, in the second half of the season that will show for more points than we’ve been getting.”

That style of play has brought plenty of plaudits around the country and O’Hara reckons that’s what has brought the best out in him.

“With the sort of formation we’ve been playing it’s been about getting forward from midfield,” he added.

“The system we’ve been playing has been exciting — Glen (Kamara) sitting in front and myself and Gowser (Paul McGowan) trying to get in touch with the strikers.

“Obviously, I’ve scored a few goals and against Motherwell, Gowser scored a brilliant goal, so I think it’s been an exciting set-up we’ve been playing.”