Leitch-Smith urges Dundee to keep the faith as side look to get out of rut

Dundee’s on-loan striker A-Jay Leitch-Smith makes up for his spot-kick miss against Partick by smashing home from 12 yards against Hamilton — unfortunately it wasn’t enough to prevent defeat.

A-Jay Leitch-Smith says Dundee have to keep the faith if they are to force themselves out of their rut.

Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Hamilton made it four defeats on the bounce and just two wins and two draws in their last 12 matches.

And the loanee striker from Shrewsbury says the Dark Blues squad acknowledge the trouble they find themselves in at the foot of the Premiership table.

The way out of it, though, is to keep belief in themselves and the way they are trying to play the game.

He said: “It’s been a frustrating time, results aren’t good enough and we need to put in better performances than we have done in the last two games.

“We must start picking up points quickly.

“Hamilton had one chance in the first half and scored.

“We’re not getting much luck but we’ve got to take chances at the other end and defend better, I think the whole team have to be better overall to be honest.”

There’s no let-up in the fixture list for the struggling Dark Blues, however, with a trip to Easter Road to face Hibs next on the horizon.

© David Young
A-Jay Leitch-Smith sees his penalty saved at Partick Thistle.

Neil Lennon’s men have made a strong start in their first season back in the top flight.

They’ve also been backed heavily by their fans with every league home gate this season topping the 16,000 mark.

A big, noisy crowd, though, won’t affect the Dark Blues — and Leitch-Smith even reckons they can use that to their advantage.

He said: “Hibs are a good team but we’ll go there with a gameplan and, hopefully, get something out of the game.

“We’ve got to go there with belief we can get something out of the game.

“It always helps when there’s a big crowd if you can start well and get the fans to turn on their own team.

“We’ve got to believe in the way we are playing but we’ve got to put on better performances than the last two.

“We know on our day that we are a good side, so we’ve got to believe all together.

“It’s about putting the chances away and keeping it out of your net, which it is for every team, so we’ve been working on that this week and will improve on it.”

Leitch-Smith grabbed his fourth goal in his short time at Dens Park in the 3-1 defeat to Accies at the weekend.

The Englishman won the penalty in the 67th minute.

He then stepped up to take it, surprising some in the stadium after seeing his last spot-kick saved.

It also emerged after the Partick Thistle contest, where he missed from 12 yards, that he wasn’t supposed to take the kick. Sofien Moussa was the nominated taker by boss Neil McCann and Leitch-Smith revealed the manager had words with him afterwards.

However, with Moussa on the bench on Saturday, the responsibility was Leitch-Smith’s and he rattled in the kick with aplomb.

“The manager made me aware of the penalty situation after the Partick game,” he said.

“Obviously, as a striker, you want to score goals and, especially with me winning the penalty, I took it.

“Moussa wasn’t on the pitch, so the gaffer said to me before the game, if I wanted, to take any penalties.

“I want to score goals and to obviously put that penalty miss right from earlier in the season.”

The 27-year-old, who is on loan until January, is enjoying his first spell out of English football despite Dundee’s recent form. He added: “I’ve always wanted to play in the Scottish league and see what it’s all about, so that was a big pull.

“It’s a different game, we’re trying to play a lot more football than we did at Shrewsbury. That suits my game, getting the ball on the floor.

“Hopefully, we can keep improving and keep working hard on what we’re doing.”