After 18 months in the first team at Dens Park, injury saw Fin Robertson turn into a Dundee fan again as he cheered the team to promotion.
An ankle injury picked up last February ended the 18-year-old’s season early, meaning he missed out on the Dark Blues’ rip-roaring end to the campaign.
However, he was back fit for pre-season and has been getting some vital minutes back on the pitch in friendlies.
And he made his competitive return in the Premier Sports Cup victory over Brora Rangers.
“It’s definitely good to be back out on the pitch,” he told the Courier.
“It was gutting to be ruled out for the rest of the season last year.
“The boys did brilliantly to get up and I just can’t wait to see if I can try to get a game in the Premiership!
“I felt at home right away coming back for pre-season. With the boys it’s dead easy.
“I was right back in the first day of pre-season and felt as good as new.”
On last season, he added: “I was just like a fan again, watching the boys from the side. I was rooting for them and they turned it on.
“They were flying at the end of the season and every game they were going into thinking ’we’re going to win this’ and that showed when they blew Kilmarnock away.
“I could feel that confidence among the boys going into games. There are big characters around here like the gaffer who drill it into you to believe you are going to win, play on the front foot and take the game to the opposition.”
Confidence dropped last season
After an impressive breakthrough season that saw him named the club’s Young Player of the Year in 2019/20, Robertson struggled for game time last term.
Before injury ended the campaign early, he had made just two league starts.
He used his time on the sidelines productively, though, as he reflected on his time in the first team and vowed to come back an improved player.
“Last season was tough,” Robertson said.
“You will always face challenges in your career and it’s about how you react to them.
“I wasn’t really able to do anything just watching from the side but it gave me time to reflect and think about how I can get back and be better than before.
“In the first season I played a lot but last season wasn’t meant to be for me.
I dropped off a little bit, I didn’t feel myself or as sharp as I was the year before.
“It was maybe just a lack of confidence from not being in the team. Things were a bit stop-start for me and then the injury killed it.
“I think the time I’ve had off I’ve been able to get that back and stride forward.”
Dundee return to the top flight at the end of this month against St Mirren at Dens Park.
That was also the Dark Blues’ last Premiership fixture before they dropped to the Championship.
That day was a memorable one for lifelong Dee Robertson as he made his first-team debut.
James McPake was in temporary charge following Jim McIntyre’s sacking, stepping up from his role with the U/18s.
Robertson was a key player in that youth team and McPake had no fear seeing him step up to a top flight game such was his confidence in the 16-year-old.
Now, the battle is on again for the now-18-year-old midfielder to find a way into the first team.
In his way are the likes of Charlie Adam, Shaun Byrne, Jordan McGhee, Paul McGowan and old youth team-mate Max Anderson.
He embraces that challenge, however.
“I made my debut in the Premiership so I want to make it two appearances at least!” He joked.
“It’ll be tough because we have a lot of good midfielders here. There’s Maxy, McGhee, Charlie, Shauny so there’s four or five of us all fighting for a place in the team.
“The competition is good for the squad. We have a lot of competition and the manager has added more quality this summer.
“That brings everyone else up, too, because we all want to be out on that pitch.
“You just have to show what you can do when you get a chance, training has to be at a high standard and, hopefully, the gaffer puts trust in me.”