Dundee boss Paul Hartley admits he is stunned to see city rivals Dundee United heading towards the top-flight trapdoor.
The Dee can deliver the final blow to the Tannadice side by confirming their relegation from the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership if they avoid a derby defeat at Dens Park tonight.
But Dark Blues manager Hartley believes the Tangerines have the players that should have seen them to safety.
Asked if it was a surprise to see United 11 points adrift at the bottom of the table, he said: “Yeah I am. If you look at the squad that they had at the beginning of the season it was a strong group of players.
“So I didn’t see this coming in terms of their league position. It’s been a real struggle for them.
“It will be a real loss to the league and the city of Dundee if they go down. I think we want to have the league as strong as we can.
“But here at this club, we just want to do well for ourselves. I think our fans will enjoy it if we get the result that does put United down.
“However, it wouldn’t just be us that would relegate Dundee United. That has happened across the season. We just want to win the football match for us, for the club, for our fans, our players and our staff.”
Dundee missed out on a place in the top six but the contribution of two of their players has been noted after Kane Hemmings and Greg Stewart were nominated for the PFA Scotland player of the year award.
Playmaker Stewart has already been linked with a move to Rangers, while Hemmings’ 25-goal tally will not have gone unnoticed by potential suitors.
But Hartley is keen to make the most of both the former Cowdenbeath forwards while he has them.
He said: “Both lads have been terrific. But we have a group of lads that has helped them along the way.
“They are two talented lads, though. For Hemmings to get 25 goals is a fantastic return.
“And with Greg, you are always wary of that second-season syndrome. But he is better than last year.
“Can we keep hold of them? I don’t know. We want to. Kano has two years left, Greg has another year and we’re not in a position where we have to sell.
“But we can’t stop speculation, we can’t stop them being linked with other teams. That’s part and parcel of football. They are ambitious also but while we have them here we want to enjoy them.
“They are two players who have been absolutely brilliant to work with.”