Dundee may have been bottom of the Premiership when Marcus Haber signed up — but just a few days in the dressing-room at Dens Park told him they wouldn’t be there for long.
The Canadian international arrived in late October, during what was probably the darkest time of the season for Paul Hartley’s men.
In fact, his debut in a midweek home defeat at the hands of Partick Thistle saw the Dark Blues crash to a sixth consecutive defeat.
Worrying as that was for some, the 27-year-old revealed at no time did he feel that position in the top flight’s basement would be a lasting one.
“When I came, based on the morale in the changing-room, you wouldn’t have thought we were bottom of the league,” said Haber.
“Everyone had a workman-like attitude and we knew we were better than the league position suggested.
“Credit to the lads, everyone remained positive and, because of that, we’ve been able to right the ship a little bit.”
That “little bit” has seen steadily-improving results enable Dundee to climb six points above 12th spot in just a couple of months.
And while Haber knows plenty of hard work will be required post-winter break to make sure the team stay above the drop zone, he’s confident that’s exactly what will happen.
“We have been playing some good stuff, especially at home, and we’ve been getting results.
“We will look to build on that and the friendly game at Arbroath (on Tuesday) went well and was a positive.
“We won’t dwell on the games we’ve had, other than to just look to keep doing what we’ve been doing and improving.”
After a few days off last week, Haber and his Dens team-mates got back into action with Tuesday’s win at Arbroath.
He thinks that return to action was perfectly timed.
“Anything more than a week off and you can become complacent and sluggish but I think all the lads are quite diligent with their work.
“They worked hard and kept themselves ticking over while we were off.
“A week is long enough to let the body recharge a little bit and you won’t lose too much fitness especially when a lot of the lads have been in the gym and doing some running.
“I think the time off has only been positive for us. To let some players recover from injuries and niggles, it’s good.”
Now comes the long haul until the end of the season and finishing the job of retaining that top-flight place.
The good news for Dundee fans is it looks like he can concentrate on that without any international distractions.
A regular in the Canada squad, he is unlikely to be called on until this summer’s Gold Cup. Proud as he is of representing his country, he is viewing that as a plus.
“I think we have a camp in March but I don’t think it is for a full squad.
“I believe they are looking to take an U/23 squad, so I probably won’t be involved in any internationals throughout the rest of the season.
“I will have the Gold Cup, I think it’s in July, so that will be my next international experience and, hopefully, I get selected.”
And he’s revealed Scottish football’s respect for the international game is a reason he was keen to return north of the border after his time in England.
“I think playing in Scotland suits me because they do have international breaks in club football. This was something that was appealing.
“Playing in League One in England for the greater part of my career, there is not a break in scheduling when there are internationals.”