Listen up: Paul McGowan tells his Dundee teammates to aim for the top six

Paul McGowan has told his teammates to aim high

Dundee midfielder Paul McGowan certainly doesn’t lack conviction when he plays or when he speaks.

So when he tells his Dens Park teammates they’re aiming at a top six finish by the end of the season, you’re pretty sure they’ll listen.

If they don’t you’d expect an earfull will be heading their way before long.

McGowan accepts the table doesn’t lie as the Dark Blues lie in 10th spot at the midway point of the season with results not coming early on in the campaign.

However, he’s backing a Dundee upsurge in 2018 and has his sights set on a top-half place come April.

He said: “I think we’ve been gelling.

Paul McGowan has been a lynchpin for Dundee in midfield this campaign.

“There have been a lot of players coming in, there’s been a turnover and getting the way we want to play, everybody buying into it, You can start to see it now, we’re starting to knock the ball about with confidence and we’re a hard team to play against.

“That’s what we want to be, hard to beat but also good to watch going forward, expansive and adaptable.

“That’s what the manager’s been working tirelessly in training at and it’s starting to come off now.”

The Dark Blues finished 2017 in fine form, grabbing seven points from a possible 12 and could easily have had nine from those four games after being held to a 1-1 draw at Motherwell despite dominating the match.

That was a memorable game for McGowan himself as he rattled in a superb long-range strike to open the scoring in that one.

He then hit the bar with a fine chip moments later only to then see ’Well equalise from the spot and then hang on for a point.

Talking about his strike, he said: “Seeing it back, I hit it so early and I think that caught the keeper. I think it surprised everyone, me scoring!

“I could have slipped A-Jay (Leitch-Smith) in, that’s usually what I would do but I just thought ‘why not have a go?’

“Then with the chip, an inch lower it goes in and we’re cruising.

“Playing the way we did, we know we should have beaten them.”

The midfield grafter says he’s enjoying life at Dens Park, particularly with the style of football manager Neil McCann has impressed on his side.

McGowan added: “It’s enjoyable to play in, I keep saying that.

“You watch some games and they’re just launching the ball, launching the ball but that’s not us — we can mix it sure, that’s a good thing about this team that we can mix it as well if we need to go to one of our big strikers.

“I just think we need to keep going the way we’ve been going and we’ll be fine.

“We’re always looking up, never looking down.

“Obviously we’re a few points off top six and again only a couple off bottom. However, the league’s tight and it’s always been where a couple of wins gets you right up there.”

What has changed this season at Dens Park, compared with previous ones, is that the team has kept up a consistent level of performance for much of the season even if results haven’t necessarily matched that.

“The consistency of our performances has become more level,” said McGowan.

“Anybody can beat anybody in this league — if you’re not at it then you’re going to be in for a hard time.

“If we keep going the way we’ve been going, I’m pretty sure we’ll move up that table and I’m confident we can get in the top six.

“Pretty confident with the team that we’ve got, the squad we have, if we keep playing the way we have been playing then I’m sure we’ll do it. What an achievement it will be if we can.”