Approaching the end of the first quarter of the season, it’s been far from smooth sailing for Dundee on their Championship return.
Two wins, two draws and two losses after six matches is form which has mid-table written all over it – and that is exactly where the Dark Blues find themselves at this stage of the campaign.
Sitting in sixth, expectedly ahead of the likes of Alloa and Queen of the South but behind part-time Arbroath and well off pacesetters Dundee United and Ayr, the next few games could go a long way to directing Dundee’s season.
Matches against Queens, the Red Lichties and Partick Thistle are ones which could send James McPake’s men soaring towards the top of the second tier.
Or, it could leave them reeling and desperately in search of points and answers heading into the second round of fixtures.
Here, the Tele takes a look at Dundee’s next three league matches and what it could mean for their hopes for the term ahead.
Queen of the South v Dundee
Friday, September 27
The Dark Blues’ first hurdle on what is now a crucial run of fixtures comes at Palmerston on Friday night in the form of Allan Johnston’s Queen of the South.
The Dumfries side picked up their first win of the season a fortnight ago, seeing off Morton 1-0 at home but lost 2-0 at Inverness on Saturday to find themselves in eighth place.
The usually-prolific Stephen Dobbie has yet to notch in his four league outings to date but always poses a threat and, given his recent exploits in this fixture, Dundee must be wary.
He scored four times over two Scottish Cup fourth-round ties when the two teams met in January – his hat-trick enough to win Queens the replay at Palmerston 3-0.
It is a very different Dee side now to the one which lost so handsomely back then.
However, under the Friday night lights and in front of a live TV audience, Dundee must make sure there is no repeat of that display.
Verdict – Three points.
Dundee v Arbroath
Saturday, October 5
Arbroath have already given Dundee United a couple of headaches this season in both the Championship and the Challenge Cup and you wouldn’t bet against them repeating that against the Dark Blues.
Dick Campbell’s Red Lichties have proven their quality after making the step up from League One and currently sit two points and a place better off than full-time Dundee.
Former Dee Bobby Linn is the main man for the Lichties but they have other ways in which to hurt opponents.
What Dundee must do, is remain patient and, by hook or crook, win those all-important three points in front of an expectant home crowd at Dens Park.
It will be a challenge but one they must feel they can rise to.
Verdict – Three points.
Dundee v Partick Thistle
Saturday, October 19
With Ian McCall newly unveiled as the Partick Thistle manager following the sacking of Gary Caldwell, the Jags could be in the midst of a new boss bounce when this fixture comes around.
Currently marooned at the bottom of the table without a win to their name, Partick are desperately in need of points.
The second-coming of McCall will see the Glasgow side set up to be tough to break down but the Dee must also be wary of the good football he had Ayr playing.
Verdict – One point. Total – Seven points. A good return.