The pressure Dundee are under to avoid relegation from the Premiership is nothing new, according to centre-half Ryan McGowan.
The Aussie defender feels since signing on loan from Bradford City in January, the Dark Blues have had the weight of the world on their shoulders in their fight to escape what would be a disastrous drop to the Championship.
Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Aberdeen at Dens Park, courtesy of a Sam Cosgrove brace, made it seven defeats on the spin for the Dee as the magnitude of each result continues to pile up on manager Jim McIntyre and his men.
They now sit bottom of the top-tier standings, three points behind St Mirren in the play-off place and seven off Hamilton Accies in 10th spot.
It would be easy for them to fall like a stack of cards but 29-year-old McGowan reckons they have got what it takes to fight for points and keep their survival hopes alive in the split.
That battle starts on Saturday week as they travel to Perth to face St Johnstone looking to take points off the McDiarmid Park men for the first time this season, and McGowan insists they have to improve on recent performances at both ends of the pitch in order to get anything from the match.
“Everyone knows how big the split is going to be for us,” he said.
“We’ve got a free weekend this week so it’s a good opportunity for us to put some stuff on the training ground and prepare for the last five games.
“There’s been pressure since I arrived really but it’s only us that can get out of it, that old cliché.
“But we’re bitterly disappointed that we keep losing games with no points to show for it.
“I think we’ve got enough there to turn it around.
“We just need to make sure that when we are on top we start scoring some goals and keep them out at the back.”
And, reflecting on the weekend defeat to the Dons, the former Hearts and Dundee United man feels there were large parts of the game where the Dark Blues were the better side.
However, like so many matches this season, they caved and, ultimately, ended up with nothing to show for their efforts.
He added: “I didn’t think there was much in the game really, first half was quite even and, once we got started, I thought we were the better team
“We were shading it in the first half but Aberdeen are a good team and broke on us, won a penalty and then it’s difficult. They don’t tend to lose many games after scoring the first goal.
“They get their goal and then they set up to counter attack and they’re very good at it.
“They get so many good results away from home purely from that fact so it was difficult for us to break them down.
“The last 15 minutes, particularly, was not good enough in terms of us keeping the ball and probing and trying to score.
“They probably could’ve scored a couple more.
“It was a bit of an uphill task and we’re disappointed that’s another game gone and no points.”
McGowan led from the back against the Dandies and was one of few players who got through the 90 minutes with pass marks.
And he was keen to defend young midfielder Callum Moore, making his first start for Dundee, after the 19-year-old conceded the penalty which Cosgrove converted to give Aberdeen the lead for a foul on Lewis Ferguson in the box.
McGowan said: “Young Callum Moore who came in was very good.
“He’ll have been disappointed to give away the penalty but it’s a good learning curve for him to play in a match like that.”