Dundee have made their first tentative moves to secure a squad that can challenge for promotion to the Premiership next season.
With uncertainty still reigning over when matches can begin again in the UK, Scottish clubs and players whose current deals are ending in the next few weeks are still in limbo.
However, the Dark Blues have triggered an option in wing-back Christie Elliott’s contract to keep him at Dens Park until next summer.
And they have also given short extensions to other first-team players coming to the end of their deals.
Recently-crowned Player of the Year Paul McGowan and club captain Josh Meekings, along with rookie left-back Tom Field, are all facing a summer of uncertainty over their futures.
In normal times, the club would likely have offered sizeable extensions to at least the two more experienced players over the summer.
However, with doubts over when Scottish football will restart and normal income resume, in addition to how it might affect the furlough scheme, Dundee – like almost every club – have had to bide their time.
The SPFL stated yesterday the current plan was to begin season 2020/21 with the League Cup in mid-July before league football gets under way on August 1. That, though, will require the Scottish Government to give the green light.
And that has led managing director John Nelms, who has stated he wants to look after club employees through the shutdown, to request guidance from governing bodies over possible options.
Now the club have announced short extensions for McGowan, Meekings and Field until the start of the summer transfer window on July 1.
Anything longer and rules state the deal must run until the following window in January.
A club statement read: “The club have taken the decision to extend the contracts of all the professional players who are out of contract next month.
“Through advice from the SPFL, the club have offered short-term extensions through the end of June to these players and will review the situation and make further decisions at that time based on the information available.”
Meanwhile, the club had an option in January-signing Elliott’s contract to extend that deal until next summer.
Manager James McPake has been delighted with the former Partick Thistle man since his arrival from Carlisle and was happy to keep him going into next season where the Dark Blues will be targeting automatic promotion.
The Dens gaffer said: “Christie has integrated really well since he came in. He had played a lot of football in Scotland beforehand, so we knew his quality and we were delighted with his contribution over the six games.
“He showed enough in those games and he fitted in with everyone at the club so he was one we wanted to keep for next season.
“He hadn’t played for six weeks at Carlisle so to come in and hit the ground running like he did shows his character and the ability he has.”
Elliott arrived on deadline day at the end of January and immediately showed his worth to the side down the right flank.
A versatile player, the Englishman’s strong running and ability on the ball have seen him shine in the wing-back role since making his debut at the start of February.
After making his first appearance from the bench at Morton, Christie went on to start four of the next five games before the coronavirus halted the campaign early.