Dundee don’t have to dig deep to find the motivation required for tonight’s crunch Championship trip to face Ayr United.
The Dark Blues look like they’ve got fire in their bellies and I absolutely love that!
Between seeking revenge for the 3-1 defeat by the Honest Men at Dens Park last month, Saturday’s Scottish Cup drama against St Johnstone and the spirit already shown in coming back to beat Dunfermline the other week, the Dee have a whole bag of chips on their shoulder.
They’ll be going all out at Somerset Park this evening, not only to pick up a crucial three points in the race to secure second spot for the Premiership promotion play-offs, but also to prove once and for all their credentials as one of the big powers in the division.
Their form, for most of the season, has been erratic but they seem to be turning a corner.
For me, a large part of that is down to the attitude and mentality being fostered in James McPake’s squad at the moment.
The Dundee boss showed that in Saturday’s 1-0 third-round defeat at Dens Park as he fiercely contested Danny Mullen’s ruled-out goal.
I like to see that passion from a manager and players, they’ve been like that the past few games as well.
They came out the traps flying at Alloa and, of course, the fightback against the Pars. Even McPake’s booking for his protestations and the way they tried to battle against the Perth men was encouraging, for me.
The Dark Blues could quite easily have won the game at the weekend be in the last 16 of the cup and did themselves proud against Premiership opposition.
They’d have liked to have got through, of course, but a performance like that bodes well for the rest of the season.
They’ll be full of confidence, once the frustration dissipates, headed for Ayrshire tonight.
The Dee aren’t just accepting things anymore, it feels like they really want to kick on and progress.
It’s good signs they are all up for it.
Tonight could change their season, for good or bad.
There’s so much to play for with Dundee just three points behind Raith Rovers in that coveted second spot.
Three points from this evening’s game in hand could give the Dark Blues the impetus to go on and make that spot their own headed into the post-season.
It’s massive and they have to go into it with the same attitude, determination and confidence they’ve shown in the past three games.
They have to take it to Ayr, of course, but the defending does need to be better.
I don’t know how many times I’ve said that this season but I’m sure McPake is desperately trying to drill that into them.
They’ve lost some cheap goals against the Pars and Saints and they can’t afford to do that calling in at Ayr.
It feels like a sliding doors moment and I truly hope it goes the right way for the Dee.
They got the job done in the end but if Dundee United are to get three points at Hamilton this weekend they need to improve on their Partick Thistle performance.
United remain in the Scottish Cup, just about, after a late 2-1 win over the League One side at Tannadice on Saturday.
I must admit, I feel for the young Jags defender Mouhamed Niang because Nicky Clark’s stoppage-time winner should never have stood. I’d be raging at that.
However, it stood and the Terrors will head for Forfar as favourites to progress once more and set up a quarter-final meeting with top-flight Aberdeen or Livingston.
Before that sideshow gets back on the road, the bread and butter of league duty presents itself for the Tangerines on Saturday.
Accies are fighting for their lives at the bottom and United can’t afford to put in another lackluster display, particularly their slow start, after the weekend.
Micky Mellon has to make sure his players have the same never-say-die attitude as the likes of Hamilton and Ross County, even if they have less to play for.
United are safe but three points are still important in keeping momentum up for the cup, finishing top of the bottom six and, of course, for the financial aspect of it, too.
Leaders in the team like captain Mark Reynolds need to keep on at the team to ensure standards don’t slip.
If you’d ask me earlier in the season if Manchester City could win the Champions League I’d have said no chance!
However, with the form their now showing in the Premier League, I can’t see past them for Europe’s top crown.
Pep Guardiola’s side are sweeping aside all before them down south and I fancy them to do a job against Borussia Dortmund tonight and make it into the semi finals.
That would represent huge progress for a City squad jam-packed with top talent.
With players of that calibre, it’s their time to go all the way.