While they are in desperate need of their first points of the season, when Dundee travel to Rangers on Saturday the hierarchy at Dens Park should be realistic and settle for a performance.
So says one-time Dark Blues boss and former player for both clubs Alex Rae.
And if they return from Govan knowing, even in defeat, they’ve put in a decent showing, under-pressure boss Neil McCann can then set about picking up points in the games that follow.
“Obviously, Dundee have to start getting points on the board so they’re not detached at the bottom of the table but I hope there is a sense of realism from the people at the top,” said Alex.
“They have stuck by Neil and that has to continue beyond this game because you can’t expect Dundee to be going to Ibrox and picking up anything.
“If they do, it will be a huge bonus. If it’s another defeat, so long as they’ve played reasonably well they can take that into the games that follow.
“They’ve got Hibs, Hamilton and Kilmarnock coming up and those are the ones where they should be targeting points.
“By then he’ll have had the chance to work with players he brought in just before the transfer window was closing and that’s the period he can be judged on.”
So far as Saturday goes, though, Alex feels it looks likely to be a case of a backs-to-the-wall 90 minutes against a Rangers team that, despite defeat against Celtic last time out, has impressed him this term.
“Steven Gerrard has brought about a lot of improvement since he came in and Rangers are a much more difficult team to face now than they were last season.
“They’ve been very strong at Ibrox and right now it’s a hard place to go. One thing in Dundee’s favour is, because no-one’s expecting anything from them, it’s a shot to nothing.”
The past week or so has seen Alex casting his mind back to his time in charge at Dens and he was delighted to see one of his former players, Kevin McDonald, feature in Scotland’s clashes with Belgium and Albania.
And he’s revealed if the Rangers management of a few seasons back had listened to him, the Fulham midfielder might have been facing Dundee.
“I did recommend Kevin to Rangers when he was at Sheffield United and his contract was coming to an end because I knew he’d do a very good job for them but they decided to go another way.
“One of the best decisions I made at Dundee was when I dropped myself from the middle of the park and started playing the big man there regularly.
“He was just a kid, but along with a young Robbo (Scott Robertson) he was a real driving force for them.
“You were talking about two young players and they probably didn’t get enough credit for the influence they had on the team.”
While it’s taken a decade or so since those days for McDonald to break into the international team, Alex never doubted he would.
“We sold Kevin to Burnley and, although things didn’t end well for him there, I did go down and watch him in a game against my old club Wolves and he was the best player on the park and that confirmed he was good enough to succeed at a very high level.”
Alex’s close relationship with Scotland boss Alex McLeish might have helped McDonald finally get international recognition this year, though he plays that down.
“I did speak to Alex about him but because he lived down in the London area in the past couple of seasons and was seeing Kevin a lot more regularly than I was.
“When Alex became Scotland manager again he was aware of how well Kevin was doing.”