A-Jay Leitch-Smith out to finish what he started by choosing Dundee over other clubs

© David Young
A-Jay Leitch-Smith takes on Coll Donaldson during Dundee’s first attempt at getting past inv.

Having knocked back interest from elsewhere this month, A-Jay Leitch-Smith is determined to finish what he started at Dundee as he aims to help the Dark Blues to a top-six finish.

The Shrewsbury Town man has been on loan at Dens Park since August and quickly made his mark at the club with a double in a victory over St Johnstone.

Since then he’s become the club’s top league goalscorer with five strikes and is keen to add to that tally to push the Dark Blues well clear of the relegation battle.

And he thought he’d added his sixth of the campaign on Saturday.

After wheeling away to celebrate and initially being awarded the goal that made it 1-1 against Inverness, a stadium announcement gave the opener to Sofien Moussa.

The ball might have come off Moussa last but Leitch-Smith is still going to make his case for the goal.

A-Jay Leitch-Smith in action against St Johnstone back in September

He said: “You’ve got to shout for it, haven’t you!

“I didn’t really see who it came off, I knew it took a deflection. First thing I did was look to the linesman to see if it came off our player or the defender and he kept his flag down so, thankfully, it stood.

“It was a bit of good play for the goal, we’ve done that in training as well so there’s nothing new there.

“Thankfully, it went in.”

Mark O’Hara went on to give the Dark Blues the lead despite a below-par showing in their first game back after the winter break.

They were pegged back late on and taken to a replay which will be played next Tuesday but Leitch-Smith knows there will have to be a marked improvement from Dundee to get anything from tonight’s home clash with Hibs.

He added: “I don’t think we were fully at it on Saturday, we had some phases of play where we looked like we were doing something but, thankfully, we’ve got another game and we need to look to that and get through to the next round.”

Manager Neil McCann called his side “rusty” after the disappointing draw but Leitch-Smith says the freshness of coming off a break should have seen the side into the fifth round to face Motherwell at the first time of asking.

“I don’t think you can look into that too much because we’ve had a rest, we should be feeling fresh and ready to go again.

“We had a practice game last week so it’s not like we’ve not done anything.

“We’ve been training hard for the two weeks before the game so I wouldn’t put it down to that.

“I just think we were a little bit off it on Saturday and in the end we paid for it.

“We’ve got a league game to look forward to tonight and, hopefully, we can go into that full steam ahead and pick up some points.

“Hibs are a good side with a lot of good players but we back ourselves and will be wanting the points ourselves.

“On our day I feel like we can give anyone a game — we proved that with the games against Rangers and the likes.

“If we’re at it I believe we can definitely get top six.

“You have games like Inverness every now and then but the quicker you forget about it and work to the next game, put in the work, we can, hopefully, put a performance on against Hibs.”

And Leitch-Smith says he was happy to extend his initial six-month loan into a season-long one, despite interest from elsewhere.

He said: “I’ve enjoyed my stay here and I’m glad to get it sorted until the end of the season.

“I had a bit of interest from a couple of other teams but I wanted to finish what I started here.

“I think the football is on the rise. Hopefully, we can carry on the form and I can score a few more goals for the team as well and try and fight for that top six.”

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