“I am a big game player and I thrive on the big occasion”
Dundee striker Jason Cummings is in no doubt where he wants to be playing his football next season – the Premiership at Dens Park.
The former Hibs and Rangers man added goals No 7 and 8 in the final day 2-0 win at Queen of the South that secured the Championship’s second place.
Next up is the nerve-shredding play-offs, a situation Cummings is no stranger to.
However, it is an environment in which he thrives, even if there are no fans watching and cheering on.
The 25-year-old was top scorer three seasons running in the second tier at Easter Road, scoring 19 times as they won the title in 2016/17.
And helped the Hibees to the 2016 Scottish Cup.
Now he’s determined to help Dundee through their big end to the season with four matches between them and promotion back to the top flight.
On Friday at Queen of the South, the Dark Blues knew only victory would do if they were to have any chance of overhauling Raith Rovers in second.
And Cummings’ first-half goals did just that.
“Friday was another big occasion,” he said.
“I feel like I am a big game player and I thrive on the big occasion.
“The only thing that would make it better is if the fans were inside the stadium as they always give me a boost.
“I have experienced the play-offs before – I missed the penalty for Hibs against Hamilton Accies and we ended up relegated that year.
“That wasn’t exactly a great experience!
“I have played in the play-offs a few times over the years to try and get Hibs back to the Premiership.
“So I am used to playing in those types of games but the thing that I am not used to is doing it without the fans.
“I wish they could be inside the stadium for these big games coming up.
“We have a lot of high calibre players who can rise to the occasion so we are ready to go.”
‘Big chance for us now’
The Dark Blues now await the winner of Raith v Dunfermline next week, knowing they have time to prepare before the big semi-final date on May 12.
With eight matches unbeaten heading into the final four crunch clashes, Cummings says there is plenty of confidence about Dundee.
“It’s massive to finish second,” he added.
“The two extra games makes it tough because to play six games in such a short space of time can make you fatigued that’s for sure.
“The fact we can rest and regroup and train a few days to keep ourselves ticking over is a good thing.
“Raith and Dunfermline will be battling it out while we are doing that.
“We will make sure we are ready for the semi-final when it comes.
“We have gone eight games unbeaten in the league so we are in good form right now.
“I don’t think any team would want to play us right now. Even the Premiership team coming down wouldn’t fancy it.
“We are a team who is full of confidence and we are playing well.
“We have a good group of boys in the changing room and we are a close knit unit.
“We all work hard for each other and it is good that we are stringing a few results together.
“We couldn’t have hit a better time to hit some good form.
“We are coming into the end of the season.
“It is a big chance for us to go up now. We are four games away from getting Dundee back to where they belong in the Premiership.”
‘Categorically say second goal was mine’
Cummings now has eight goals in 15 league games for the Dark Blues, netting three times in his last two outings.
And he’s keen to add to that number before the end of the campaign.
There was some doubt over who got the last touch on his second goal at Palmerston on Friday but the striker says nobody is taking away his eighth of the season.
“I am delighted with Friday night,” Cummings said.
“From a personal point of view it was great to get a couple of goals on the night.
“We got the win we wanted and now we have finished so it was a great night and it finished the way we wanted.”
He added: “A few of the boys were trying to say it wasn’t my goal but I can categorically say it was mine.
“I toe poked it with my right and it hit someone then hit my knee and went in.
“So I got the last touch and it is my goal.
“It was nice to get a few goals but more importantly we got the win.
“I went through a spell in England when I wasn’t playing and you don’t enjoy your football when you aren’t featuring.
“To be playing week in and week out and having a manager who believes in me is great.
“The boys have been great as well and I am enjoying it.”