Dundee’s Jordan McGhee insists there will be no getting carried away at Dens Park after the Dark Blues ignited their season with a 3-1 victory over league leaders Hearts.
The Dark Blues were slow off the mark in the Championship, being thumped 6-2 on the opening day by the Jambos and falling eight points behind their weekend opponents in the title race.
However, McGhee insists the Dens men have turned the corner on their season and taken some of the pain away from that poor day at Tynecastle.
Now he’s keen to see his side push on and try to cut the gap to the top even further.
McGhee said: “The 6-2 was a bitter pill to swallow and it still hurts.
“But this win takes a little bit of the edge off.
“We won’t get carried away. It is a big result for us but there are still a lot of games and we just have to keep trying to churn out three points every week.
“Saturday was a great performance and it has been a long time coming as well so we are delighted.
“Obviously we knew Hearts would be tough opponents but we have done really well in the last six games and we knew if we played the way we have been playing and doing the right things we could get a decent result – I think we did that.”
There was a hunger about Dundee that’s not always been present this season, particularly in a first half that saw them get after Hearts and chalk up a 2-0 lead at the break.
That desire was epitomised by a tackle from Shaun Byrne in the opening minutes on Steven Naismith that earned a yellow card for the Dens midfielder.
Jambos boss Robbie Neilson felt it should have been a red card but McGhee insists the challenge fired up the Dark Blues and “set the tone” for the performance.
He said: “It happens a lot in this league – teams try to do it to us as well.
“It is part and parcel of the game and you see it all over the world, players trying to set the tone in the first five minutes.
“There is no better way to do that and if the fans were in here it would have got every single one of them on their feet.
“So it was definitely a marker set.”
McGhee himself set his own marker by grabbing the opening goal of the game as he continues to enjoy his new lease of life as a box-to-box midfielder.
After enduring a spell of poor form in his usual defensive role at the start of the season, McGhee has emerged as a driving force in the middle of the park since returning to the team last month.
He netted against Inverness and added his second of the season after 14 minutes on Saturday, planting a fine header into the top corner from a superb Charlie Adam cross.
The former Hearts man was delighted to set his team on the way to victory.
“It was a great ball from Charlie,” he said.
“I have been making those runs and the gaffer has been on at me to do it all the time.
“Like the Inverness game, I was in the right place at the right time and managed to score.
“It was a great moment for myself but more importantly for the team.
“I probably should have scored against Dunfermline as well as I had a few chances.
“We have been working on it in training. We have players who can do that like Marsh (Jordan Marshall) and Christie (Elliott) and I know if I get myself in the box eventually one will fall to me and it did on Saturday.”
Adam was once more the architect of the second goal on 36 minutes as the half-time scoreline matched the home side’s dominance.
This time the former Liverpool and Rangers man nutmegged Peter Haring on the left wing to engineer a crossing opportunity and put the ball on a plate for striker Danny Mullen to head beyond Craig Gordon.
It was no less than the Dark Blues deserved for their display in the opening period before the league leaders came back into the game in the second half.
A curling free-kick from Andy Irving evaded everybody and found the far corner after 56 minutes to set up a nervy period for the home side.
Hearts created chances, however, a mixture of poor finishing and superb goalkeeping from Jack Hamilton kept Dundee in front.
And they sealed victory with an 84th-minute penalty from Jonathan Afolabi to maintain an unbeaten run that stretches back six games.
‘We couldn’t afford to lose’
The three points also put the Dark Blues within five points of Hearts at the top of the table, though the Edinburgh side have a game in hand.
McGhee accepts this was a game Dundee couldn’t lose if they had any hopes of winning the division come May.
He said: “We couldn’t afford to lose or drop any more ground on them.
“We always knew it was a big game but we believe in ourselves and like I said after the last six weeks we knew if we could put in that performance we would give anyone a game.
“It has happened at a great time against a good team. We need to keep doing it in every game and see where it takes us.
“I think it is key in this league when you get consistency.
“You saw Dundee United last season, they were consistent for the full campaign.
“If you can go five or six unbeaten you know you will be up there.
“We just need to keep our feet on the ground, working hard and grinding out results to see where it will take us.”