Dundee boss Jim McIntyre has urged his team to do their talking on the pitch – and one man who is never short of a word or two is set to return to the starting line-up.
The Dens men need to speak up according to their manager to get themselves off the bottom of the table, whether it’s a bit of sharp criticism or a word of encouragement.
Paul McGowan certainly has no qualms about telling his team-mates exactly what he’s thinking.
And that sort of attitude has been missing during the Dundee boss’s short time in charge at the club.
McGowan has been beset by a hernia problem all season.
Initially he played through the pain but then missed six weeks before returning from the bench on Saturday at Motherwell.
He came on alongside another experienced midfield man in Martin Woods and their manager is delighted to be able to call on them both in this weekend’s crunch clash with St Mirren.
He said: “It’s very important to get Paul McGowan and Martin Woods on the pitch.
“They are two experienced players who demand from others.
“We have other good players as well as them and everybody has to understand what their role is.
“I think in the modern game, if you speak to any manager they’ll moan about the lack of talkers especially with the younger ones coming through with iPads and earphones and the rest.
“Talking is something that’s so important – we are too quiet and need to get louder, no doubt about it.
“It’s the easiest thing to talk to each other and pass information – ‘turn’, ‘man on’, whatever – and we can really help ourselves out in that way.
“McGowan and Woods will definitely help that.
“I don’t mind arguments on the pitch, players need to let their team-mates know that something isn’t good enough – but say it once and then encourage.
“Make the point and get on with it, encourage your team-mate – that’s a big thing.
“If someone hasn’t done their job then we can’t let people away with that because we have one common goal, to get the three points.
“If we can get as many doing that as possible then it certainly takes you forward.
“Some of our young players could be louder, no doubt about it. Sometimes you get that with a mix of nationalities as well.”
McGowan enjoyed four seasons at St Mirren which peaked with a Man-of-the-Match performance in their League Cup Final victory in 2013 under Danny Lennon.
Since joining Paul Hartley’s Dundee four years ago, however, the ex-Celtic kid has become a more and more influential figure in the middle of the park at Dens.
The ability to hold on to the ball in tight situations and move the ball up the pitch has been sorely lacking since he dropped out of the team at the end of September.
Not to mention his personality and experience which, in a midfield that has featured young players like Glen Kamara, Lewis Spence and Jesse Curran, can avoid some of the naivety that has been displayed at times this campaign.
Last week was a prime example as Motherwell took advantage of Dundee’s inexperience with David Turnbull given space to wander into and fire a superb strike into the net for the game’s only goal.
Dens boss Jim said: “It was a great strike to beat us but we can do so much better with the organisation.
“There was far too big a gap – at that stage we had changed to three midfielders and not one of them was in the vicinity – and Turnbull had acres to turn and pull the trigger.
“It’s some strike but, from our point of view, there has to be one of the midfielders in there.”