Jordan McGhee has urged Dundee to start next season “with a bang” as they prepare for life as a Premiership club once more.
And he reckons the recently-promoted Dark Blues are ready to take on the country’s top division right now.
Since moving into midfield, McGhee has proved an indispensable part of the Dundee machine that powered its way up through the play-offs.
Strong running between both boxes has been allied to some deadly finishing with the former Hearts man grabbing three goals in four play-off contests.
One of those was the crucial first goal of the two-legged tie against Kilmarnock at Dens Park as the Dark Blues won 2-1 on their home patch.
And they confirmed a return to the top flight with another fine 2-1 victory at Rugby Park in the second leg.
Young, hungry team
They may have become only the third Championship side to win promotion through the play-offs but McGhee was unsurprised at the levels Dundee reached in seeing off Killie.
He said: “It’s transformed our summer. It’s massive.
“You just want to cherish the moment as these nights don’t come around that often in your career.
“I turned around in the dressing-room before the game and there were players with immense quality all around me.
“On the park, when things aren’t going well, you look around and see a Premiership team.
“We’ve definitely got a side here that can go and have a right good go at the Premiership and kick on.
“I think we’ve got the nucleus of a team that can do something.
“We’ve shown that not just on Monday but in other games.
“We took a doing from Hearts at the start of the season but since then we’ve picked ourselves up, done well against Hibs in the cup and against St Johnstone we gave a good account of ourselves.
“We’ve got a team that’s hungry and is young as well.
“We’re ready for the Premiership.
“We’ll do it our own way. We can rest up now and look forward to next season and start with a bang, hopefully.”
‘We’ve been kicked up and down the park all season by everyone’
The turnaround in fortunes for the Dark Blues has been a remarkable one – losing 6-2 to Hearts on the opening day, poor defeats to Ayr at home and away and failing to find any lasting consistency.
Until the final stage of the season, that is.
Since the 3-1 loss to the Honest Men at Dens Park, Dundee lost two matches in the next 13.
One of those was to eventual Scottish Cup winners St Johnstone and the other in an aggregate win over Raith.
On top of struggling for form at times, there has been a global pandemic to contend with in the players’ personal lives as well.
That saw last season finish early with Dundee in third place and play-offs scrapped before an extended summer kept them out of action until October.
And McGhee says coming out of all those difficulties in the manner they have speaks volumes for the club.
“To a man, we’ve been kicked up and down the park all season by everyone,” he added.
“Especially with the way we started the season against Hearts. To come back and get the club back where it belongs means everything to us as players.
“I couldn’t tell you what the turning point in the season was – probably our attitude and finding confidence.
“We found a formation which suited us and people have chipped in with goals all over the park.
“When that happens, you’ve always got a chance of winning.”
‘All guns blazing’
McGhee insists those struggles made their success even sweeter on Monday night.
And he hopes Dundee fans can be back at Dens next season to enjoy their being back in Premiership football.
He added: “I didn’t think about it too much because the whole Covid situation meant there was more to life than football.
“But I think we’re stronger for what happened. The play-off games are completely different to any other games.
“The pressure in them is unbelievable. We know we’ve got players in there who can play under pressure now.
“We’ve done it in the past four games.
“I think promotion is thoroughly deserved. I’m just delighted for everyone at the club and all the players and the fans back home who deserve it more than anyone.
“The 500 who were in Dens last week were incredible so fingers crossed we get more numbers through the doors and there’s more normality for everyone.
“We should cherish this moment and come out after the summer all guns blazing.”