Dundee midfielder Paul McGowan revealed manager Paul Hartley had a go at his team despite them being 5-1 up at half-time on Saturday — but he’s not the first in the city to do so.
After a goal-filled opening period at Fir Park at the weekend, the Dark Blues cruised into the half-time break with a four-goal lead and the match pretty much sewn up.
A brace from striker Marcus Haber was added to by Craig Wighton and Mark O’Hara with an own goal from Motherwell’s Zak Jules getting things under way — all inside the opening 45 minutes where the hosts just couldn’t live with the Dark Blues.
However, Hartley wasn’t happy with the goal his side had conceded as Louis Moult made it 1-1 after 22 minutes, despite the dominant position his team had put themselves in.
“Coming off at half-time 5-1 up doesn’t happen very often,” McGowan said.
“I’d like to think it could get better but it will probably be hard to top.
“Listen, there’s always room for improvement.
“The gaffer will say that.
“He came in at half-time and had a wee bit of a go at us in the dressing-room. That’s the way he is.
“It was for the goal they scored. He was talking about winning the second ball.
“Nobody said anything back. I liked it. It kept the boys on their toes.”
Keeping his players on their toes was always a tactic used on the other side of Tannadice Street when legendary Dundee United manager Jim McLean was in charge.
And that’s certainly something he did back in March 1981 after his side had led Motherwell 4-1 at the half-time break.
It was a Scottish Cup quarter-final at Tannadice against a First Division ’Well side and a fine display of finishing in the opening period had the Tangerines already thinking of the semi-final.
Similar to Dundee’s feat on Saturday of scoring three goals in eight minutes, almost 36 years ago to the day, United had rattled in four goals inside the opening 17 minutes.
Davie Dodds grabbed three of them — in the 10th, 11th and 17th minutes — with Paul Sturrock scoring in between the second and third.
Motherwell got one back through Gordon Soutar to make it 4-1 at the break.
The goals didn’t stop for the Tangerines, though, as Billy Kirkwood made it 5-1 shortly after the break and Dave Narey smashed one in from 35 yards to complete the rout with 62 minutes on the clock.
Despite sailing through the last-eight tie and declaring the finishing that day as the best since he’d been at the club, McLean wasn’t happy with the display in the second half.
So much so, he withheld a third of the players’ entertainment bonus for the game because he felt the performance in the second period of the game shortchanged the fans.
McLean said the players had been “insufficiently entertaining, with far too many slack moments and that technically they were capable of playing much better”.
As it was, that season McLean’s men knocked Celtic out in the semi-final 3-2 in a replay.
They then went on to lose to Rangers, also in a replay after a 0-0 draw, being beaten 4-1 by the Glasgow side at Hampden.
In the Premier Division, they finished fifth, a point off third and qualified for the Uefa Cup after beating local rivals Dundee in the League Cup Final at Dens Park.