The season after relegation can be tough to adjust to for a club like Dundee as they go from losing most weeks to expecting to win every single time they step out onto the pitch.
That is the opinion of Dark Blues manager James McPake.
After an indignant drop from the Premiership last season, in which they lost 27 of 38 games, the Dee are one of a group of promotion challengers in the Championship this time out.
That, for rookie boss McPake, represents a seismic shift in the culture at a club he knows so well and has had a long affiliation with.
The former centre-half, skipper and coach was there when Dark Blues finished sixth in the top flight under Paul Hartley in 2015.
However, he also had to watch on as Dundee only managed to register one home league win in the whole of the last campaign.
Now, under his management, the Dee are unbeaten at home in the league this season and go into Saturday’s game against Partick at Dens Park looking to string together two Championship wins in a row for the first time this term after success over Arbroath before the break.
“It’s really important in this league that you are winning at home,” McPake said.
“You look at Ross County’s form last year, any team that comes into this league and wants to mount a serious challenge needs to be really good at home.
“I’ve touched on this a few times and I don’t know if it gets thrown away but it’s a hard one to explain when you’re a club that’s not been used to winning.
“I mean that in the best possible way. This isn’t exact but to stay in Premiership you maybe need to win 10 games. That would have you nowhere in this league and we’ve needed to flip that.
“That might be why teams find it tough when they first come down, particularly if you don’t get off to a good start and you’re chasing wins.
“I realised that right away, we were going from a club where the expectation was to finish in the top six in the Premiership.
“We managed it once but that wasn’t enough over the five-year period. Now the expectation is to go and win the league or be at the very top.
“That’s completely different from what we’ve faced recently.”
As much as the club didn’t want to suffer relegation last season, McPake is pleased to see Dundee finally making a new beginning as they seek an instant return this term.
“I think at home we’ve been needing to do that,” he added.
“Being back here is important. I don’t think we’ve won two league games in a row this season which isn’t great for a club like us.
“We need to get that monkey off our backs and we need to start putting runs together.
“I said that from the start and, again, I can’t complain about my squad, but it’s time for us to start turning the dominant performances into real results now.
“We needed that, I don’t think we’ve had it for a couple of years now with people coming here and knowing it’s a tough place to go.
“Any time I came as a player I had that in the back of my mind.
“We said that at the start of the season. We sat and had a meeting with the players to say we need to make this a real place where if we’re not performing it’s still horrible.
“We want teams to have to work really hard to take anything away.”
Dundee’s on-loan Rangers attacker Josh McPake netted the only goal as Scotland U/19 saw off Germany at Firhill last night to go top of their European Championship qualifying group on Tuesday.
The 18-year-old notched moments before half-time to give Billy Stark’s side the victory.