There have been plenty of highs and plenty of lows in derbies for Paul McGowan and he’s determined to make sure Dundee fans head home singing tonight.
The 32-year-old has more appearances to his name for the Dark Blues than anyone else lining up tonight and he knows more than most what winning a derby feels like.
The last time Dundee welcomed rivals Dundee United to Dens Park, McGowan popped up with a second-half winner to send his side into the League Cup quarter-finals after Faissal El Bakhtaoui and United’s Billy King had exchanged first-half goals.
“The derbies are great to play in,” he told the Tele.
“The last time here we’d played them twice in a short space, in the group stage and then the next round of the League Cup.
“It was a great game, the last one, and scoring the winner was an amazing feeling.
“I had been getting a bit of abuse from the United fans, which is part and parcel of it, but when I scored I just ran and cupped the ears!
“It was one of those things, you’re getting abuse and then the goal goes in and the emotion just takes over.
“We went on to win the game but I have been on the end of some drubbings as well, which isn’t nice.
“But when you go and score, the feeling of beating your biggest rivals and putting them out of the cup was incredible.
“They are great nights in a full stadium and under the lights. We want to give our fans what they deserve and that’s a victory.”
Especially after the disaster of the last meeting between the sides at Tannadice back in August.
The 6-2 scoreline is etched into the memory of everyone associated with Dundee for all the wrong reasons (see video below).
McGowan, though, says that’ll spur the home side on to ensure there’s no repeat.
“The way the last one went, we have a big point to prove,” he added.
“It wasn’t great. I don’t think the scoreline reflected the whole game but, if you don’t defend set-plays and give away cheap goals, that can happen.
“United are a good side and they will punish you. I think we just need to go into this one with the confidence we’ve built up over the past three games.
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“The fans will expect different this time but so do we, the manager does, too.
“Last time gave them a massive lift. We have done well to come out of the other side of it because we could have went right under after that defeat.
“We are on a good run, three wins, playing really well and scoring goals. The confidence is high right through the team and tonight is a big opportunity for us to close the gap to three points.”
Both sides head into tonight’s crunch clash with good form after three wins each in their last three matches promising a classic contest.
For McGowan, however, it’s all about keeping your cool in what is expected to be a heated atmosphere.
He said: “I’ve played in quite a few now and they can be frantic – we need to put our foot on the ball and try to settle into the game and get a rhythm going.
“We know it will be hard, they are a tough team to beat and have shown they can score goals.
“Form goes out the window in these games, you can go into derbies with the best form but sometimes it’s whoever wants it more.
“I am excited for it because we will see what we are really made of tonight.”