Boss James McPake says his Dundee side head to Dunfermline with “no excuses” as he plots a winning start to league life as the Dark Blues gaffer.
Since taking the job full-time at the start of the summer, McPake has enjoyed a positive start to life as manager.
Two wins and two draws with no goals conceded saw the Dens Park club top their Betfred Cup group.
However, with a testing trip to in-form Dunfermline to kick off their Championship season tomorrow night, the Dens gaffer knows his side will have to be on their game to get anything.
He said: “We’ve seen all their Betfred Cup games and I was there last Saturday as well. They’ve had a good start.
“It’ll be a good crowd and it’s two confident teams going into the first game of the season and there should be a good atmosphere on the night.
“We’re ready and we’re not going down there with any excuses.”
As much as the travelling support will expect victory at East End Park, McPake is by no means labelling this trip as a must-win so early in the campaign. However, he won’t stand for a repeat of the display in the 0-0 home draw with Peterhead almost a fortnight ago.
“I would never go down the route of saying how important a winning start is,” he added.
“It doesn’t absolutely have to happen.
“I would never say that we have to win this game because if we don’t where do I go from there?
“At the same time, if we do win this game I wouldn’t just think great that’s us set up for the rest of the season.
“For me, football just doesn’t work like that.
“It’s come April/May time that’s most important for obvious reasons.
“We want to keep winning, of course, but the performance is the big thing for me. I don’t want to see what we saw against Peterhead and we’ve spoken about that.
“The performance is the biggest thing because they are what dictate results.”
The early-season run of four clean sheets on the bounce is the club’s best defensive run since early 2016.
And McPake is delighted with the structure of his side so far.
He said: “It’s not just the defence who earn that.
“As a team, we’re well-structured and we win the ball back very well.
“We’ve got a team that are working together to prevent goals which has been good so far.
“You need to keep doing that because that’s four clean sheets in a row which we want to build on.
“A lot of hard work goes into that and Sunday’s win over Inverness was an example of that, from goalkeeper right through to strikers.
“Look, it’s important but it’s even more important to be winning games although keeping clean sheets is still a great habit to get into. As a keeper and defender, that’s what you live for and people are throwing their bodies on the line.
“It’s good at the minute but we do need to be a bit more clinical at the other end of the field which will come.
“I’m delighted how we’ve performed as a unit.”
He added: “We’re delighted to be in the last 16 of the Betfred Cup. But that’s been put to the side now and it’s all about the league campaign.
“It’s what everyone looks out for. Even going back as a player, it’s what gave you that buzz and excitement.
“It was about that first Saturday – for us it’s a Friday night – but it’s still the same and we’re itching to get going.”