Dundee defender Josh Meekings says the club’s preparations for the new season have been spot on – now it’s up to him and the rest of the players to put all they’ve learned in Portugal into practice.
The former Inverness Caley Thistle defender says the trip to the Algarve was a learning process for the new signings as well as the old guard as manager Neil McCann put his tactical plans in place for the coming campaign.
The Dark Blues returned from the Continent on Wednesday after a week-long training camp and Meekings insists Dundee are ready to get going for the new season, starting at Stirling Albion.
He said: “We’ve got the cup games now and we’d love to do well in that, get a cup run going.
“At the moment we’re focused on trying to improve as a team together – the manager’s trying to change little bits and pieces and we’re listening in training and working on different pieces and it’s now up to us to implement them on the pitch when we go out there.
“It’s been a learning process over the last few weeks with new boys coming in and the way the manager wants to play.
“Obviously, the boys who were here last season have an idea but there’s always new ideas that are coming in.
“It’s up to us now to put them in place when we go out there and I think we have the boys to do that.
“Within the team we have a lot of talent.
“The new lads have settled in fine and, with the core of the team we have, we can help them.”
While in Portugal, Dundee enjoyed the use of state-of-the-art facilities at their training centre with the gaffer pushing his players through double sessions each day and even training on matchdays.
A bit of tiredness in the legs certainly came into play in their first fixture of the trip – a 4-0 defeat to top-flight side Portimonense last Sunday morning, a scoreline that flattered the Portuguese side.
Meekings said: “It was brilliant, you can’t get better facilities than we were using.
“Obviously, the weather’s great and at times it’s hard with the heat but it was great for the boys to be there all together and getting a bit of team bonding and stuff.
“I think it’ll set us up well for the season.
“Last year I came in and we stayed in Dundee.
“There was a great dressing-room anyway so it was fine to get in.
“There’s some French boys who’ve come in and need to learn the language and need help with little bits and pieces.
“On Sunday, we had the game but we’d been doing double sessions every day up to that.
“You never want to lose like that but it wasn’t a game we’d prepared for like you would normally for a game.
“We did a session the night before and in the morning before, both intense, so I think the boys did really well in the first 30 minutes but then they put on the subs and the fresh legs showed.
“It was tough conditions but the football we’ve been playing has been really good and if we can find that cutting edge and keep it a bit tighter at the back I think we’ll do well.”
Dundee kick off the 2018/19 season at Forthbank before hosting Dunfermline next Sunday.
Then it’s off to Peterhead and then Brechin at home the following week.