Despite an off-day down in Kilmarnock at the weekend, Dundee’s defence is still second in the Premiership form list.
In a table of the last five league games, the Dark Blues only have four next to their name in the goals-against column — leaders Celtic are the only team to have conceded less with three.
In the five before, Dundee averaged two goals conceded per game or 10 in five for those without a mathematical persuasion, like myself.
And a big reason for that, according to centre-back Darren O’Dea, is a switch in mentality for the whole squad.
Since returning to the top flight, Paul Hartley’s men have been known to play football that’s pleasing on the eye but at the start of this campaign that approach plainly wasn’t working.
As poor results piled up, leaving Dundee bottom of the table, the management and squad decided a change of tack was required.
O’Dea said: “After the Partick defeat it was as low as we’ve been as a team, it was a difficult period.
“I’ve been in football a long time, that was one of the toughest weeks I’ve had.
“The manager decided and, us as a group, we knew we just needed to be hard to beat.
“We were struggling to play the type of football we want to play, so we decided we need to be tough to beat.”
Between the performance in the home defeat to Partick on October 26 to the win over Hamilton three days later that sparked Dundee’s recent run of good form, it was clear something had changed and there was a real togetherness in the squad shown by the post-match huddle on the pitch.
The switch to a three-man defence had also paid dividends as teams began to find it much more difficult to find a way through the Dark Blues rearguard.
O’Dea added: “After the Partick game, the manager decided this was the way we were going to play and it put everyone on the same wavelength on the way we were going to go about it.
“It wasn’t going to be pretty at times and it hasn’t been but we’ve got some results and I feel the results will build confidence.
“With that we will slowly come back to playing more attractive football, if that’s what you want to call it.
“But the last few games, we’ve had spells of good football — although in the last home game against Inverness we were poor on the ball — but the different side to it was I thought we were brilliant off the ball.
“Football’s a two-way game and we’ve been doing a lot of good things off the ball lately.”
In the defeat to Kilmarnock on Saturday, Dundee didn’t hit the heights they have of late, either on the ball or off it.
And for O’Dea, the level of workrate the Dark Blues had in the matches running up to the Rugby Park encounter is something the whole team will have to bring back.
And, for Dundee, this Saturday at home to Ross County — a side who have been able to find the net regularly lately with nine scored in their last five matches — being able to rediscovering those miserly defensive displays will be a major factor in finding their recent good form.
Not just for the defenders, though.
A clean sheet is the goal for any defence but the Dark Blues’ ability to be hard to beat and keep teams out has been a source of pride for the whole team.
O’Dea added: “Clean sheets as a defender and goalkeepers, too, take massive pride in that.
“But our forwards and midfielders should take just as much pride because the work done in front of us has been phenomenal over the past few weeks.”