Dismal Dundee struck again last night – if the Dark Blues are looking for low points, Ayr United are happy to oblige these days.
The Honest Men picked up their first league win at Dens Park in 30 years with a deserved 3-1 win yesterday.
That’s after a 2-0 victory at Somerset Park in November saw inquests and senior players publicly digging out the squad for their performances.
Just when Saturday’s win over Arbroath seemed to have got Dundee back on the right track again, they go and put in a display like that.
Yet another false dawn.
I don’t believe I’m over-egging it to say it was dreadful last night.
It felt like the type of defeat that would, in normal times and at a different club, have prompted a change in manager.
Now, I want James McPake to succeed at Dens Park – I like him and think he’s built a good squad that is capable of promotion.
That’s why the performance against the Honest Men jolts so hard.
Dundee actually started pretty well, were just about the better side, and had a couple of opportunities.
However, they coughed up a gift of a goal for Ayr and the visitors never looked back.
Dundee have only come from behind to win once this season and at no point after going behind did they look like turning this one around.
That’s the most galling thing – for all the quality that was on that pitch for Dundee, there didn’t seem to be any fight.
Ayr, a team who have struggled this term, held them at arms length for much of the second period.
They themselves have changed manager, bringing in the experience of David Hopkin.
And McPake admitted to a bit of naivety on his part in trying to play nice passing football on a pitch that’s seen better days.
Ayr, very much in the Hopkin mould, played percentage football and went long.
I like that McPake is honest about the situation he is in, it’s more than most managers are.
However, I was surprised to hear him admit to being naive last night.
Hopefully, that means he’ll learn from the mistake.
Though it’s clear the fans want a change in the dugout, I don’t see John Nelms making a move any time soon.
Despite their poor form – just two wins in their last eight – they can actually go level with Dunfermline in second with a win on Friday night.
Second has been the aim since pretty much day one of the season.
And it is still there waiting for them.
The concerning thing is the bad days are outweighing the good days right now.
Before the end of the season, that’s a balance Dundee will have to redress if they are to have any chance of getting through the play-offs.
Nelms and Tim Keyes are possible the most patient owners in the country in giving their manager a chance to get it right – many more nights like last night and that patience will run out.
Dundee United doing right by their youngsters
With no game to play for Dundee United, the biggest news coming out of Tannadice at the weekend was new contracts for a bunch of young players.
I was delighted to see that – investing in youth is the only way for Scottish clubs to really succeed these days.
And United have certainly put huge faith in their youth set-up.
The six young academy graduates picking up new deals were Shaun Brown, Rhys Caves, Flynn Duffy, Finn Robson, Darren Watson and Adam Hutchinson.
The last two signed two-year extensions as the club kept on all of their full-time U/18s beyond the summer.
That’s often an age when young pros fall by the wayside – too old for the youth teams but not yet ready for the men’s game.
I wish them all the best of luck, in particular Duffy – over the past few years my ageing legs have tried to chase young Flynn around the futsal court while he plays for Dundee Celtic.
If that’s not a reason to come and play in the Scottish Futsal League Dundee, I don’t know what is (shameless plug from the league secretary over. . .).
The epidemic has shown Scottish football you never know what is around the corner.
Finances can be torpedoed in no time.
Having a foundation of talented young players is the perfect safeguard for the future of your club.
Surprise, surprise, Scotland are playing – but one man isn’t
Where have these World Cup qualifiers appeared from?
It feels like international games have crept up on us without us noticing – they have for me anyway.
Steve Clarke’s men face Austria, the Faroes and Israel next week – I honestly can’t remember an international week where Scotland didn’t play Israel, to be fair.
Austria will be tough but it looks like they’ll have all their Germany-based players missing due to Covid rules.
Austria are no mugs but I’d much rather play them without David Alaba and Marcel Sabitzer, that’s for sure.
Sadly, we’ll be without Dundee United’s Lawrence Shankland. I couldn’t believe it when I saw he wasn’t in the squad.
Fair enough, take a look at Kevin Nisbet but he was overlooked when he was banging them in at the start of the season.
That’s not the form he’s showing now while Shankland has three in five. Strange.