Dundee forward Haber’s strike gives boss Neil a reminder

Marcus Haber in action for Dundee

Marcus Haber gave his boss the perfect reminder of his abilities as he helped Dundee to sign off the first half of the season with a Tayside derby victory.

The Canadian has found himself on the fringes of the first team lately with Sofien Moussa and A-Jay Leitch-Smith the preferred strike pairing in recent games.

And with calls from both fans and the media for manager Neil McCann to recruit a striker in the January transfer window, Haber’s time at the club looked to be running out.

However, after a knock suffered in the Boxing Day defeat to Celtic kept Moussa out of the team at St Johnstone last weekend, Haber got his chance to stake a claim.

And he took it within three minutes, putting the Dark Blues one up with a good finish and setting them on their way to a deserved 2-0 victory at McDiarmid Park.

Though the 28-year-old admits it’s been difficult to sit out in the last few weeks, he is relishing the competition at the club.

He said: “It’s always frustrating, you want to contribute.

“I’ve stayed ready and football always has a way of giving you another chance to come in.

“The boys have been playing well but my number was called on Saturday and I was happy to get a goal.

“We’ve got a number of players who can play in certain spots so there is a lot of competition for the attacking places.

“I always want to do well but the main thing is the three points and taking a win into the winter break.

“You always need to be ready when you come back into the team.

“The boys have been playing well of late so I just wanted to contribute.

“We’re delighted to get the three points — McDiarmid Park is a tough place to go to and we’re happy to take that into the break.”

Going into the winter shut-down, Dundee sit in 10th spot in the Premiership table, just two points above the relegation play-off place.

However, picking up the three points to send themselves into the break on a high is the perfect finish to what has been a difficult year for the Dark Blues.

Haber is off to his homeland to visit friends and family as the entire squad take a breather from first-team duties.

When he returns, though, he expects Dundee to start moving up the table once play gets back under way at the end of the month.

He added: “The gaffer emphasised that with some time off now it makes it all the more sweeter to come through with a victory and get a little space between ourselves and the bottom of the table.

“We feel we have improved a lot over the last couple of months with the way we are playing. At the beginning of the season, I don’t think our results reflected the way we were playing.

“Now, though, we’re combining that with getting points and we’re looking to improve every week.”

With the way Dundee finished the year — picking up seven points from the last 12 — some might not have wanted anything to interrupt the good thing they’ve got going.

“You can always look that way but all the players now have the chance to recharge the batteries and ease some of the niggles and aches with a few extra days to rest and recover,” Haber said.

“You can look at it as a positive and we can all come back rested and ready to continue.”