Football giveth; football taketh away.
Mere days after Dundee’s capture of homecoming hero Leigh Griffiths, another of the club’s prodigal sons was ruled out for six weeks due to a groin injury.
The damage to Charlie Adam was less severe than some feared. Should surgery have been required, the former Scotland and Liverpool man would have been sidelined for three months. Yet, it is an unwelcome headache.
Nevertheless, Dundee find themselves in the position of having several talented replacements and, whether as a starter or from the bench, it could be their time to shine.
As someone who has started every match for which he has been available this term, Shaun Byrne’s importance and near-guaranteed place in Dundee’s preferred central-midfield three goes without saying.
Dundee’s stalwart is the most experienced, like-for-like replacement for Adam and, based on recent fixtures, would appear the probable choice.
The experienced duo have rarely lined up in the same starting eleven for the Dee this term.
— Dundee Football Club (@DundeeFC) July 6, 2021
However, McGowan has climbed from the bench to replace Adam in recent fixtures against Hibernian and Motherwell and boss James McPake clearly sees shared attributes.
Technique; an eye for goal; leadership; splendid set-piece deliveries for the likes of Lee Ashcroft to attack — McGowan is capable of ticking many of the same boxes as Adam.
As underlined by a run of three starts in Dundee’s last five outings, Anderson’s progress is not predicated on anyone’s absence.
Nevertheless, this is a golden opportunity for the 20-year-old — currently away with Scotland’s under-21 squad — to truly cement his berth in the heart of the Dee midfield.
He has bounced back admirably from a clumsy dismissal on the opening day of the Premiership season against St Mirren to become a Dark Blue dynamo, bringing the tireless graft to go with Byrne and Adam’s craft.
An ankle complaint may have derailed his progress last season, but Robertson remains a precocious, classy prospect and the sight of him featuring in Premiership clashes against St Mirren and Celtic was welcome for the Dundee faithful.
Still only 18 years of age, Robertson is unlikely to be pitched straight into the starting line-up.
However, he has climbed the pecking order by virtue of Adam’s injury and, should McPake require a schemer from the bench who can unlock a stubborn back-line, Robertson fits the bill.
It is unlikely that Adam’s misfortune will convince McPake to draft McGhee back into midfield — however, it would be churlish to overlook him as an option.
'What a ball and what a finish!' 🙌
Watch Charlie Adam lay it on a plate for Jordan McGhee to open the scoring for Dundee 👇 pic.twitter.com/J0N2a7u0qy
— BBC Sport Scotland (@BBCSportScot) May 12, 2021
The former Hearts youngster was a revelation in the middle of the park last term, providing boundless energy, tough tackling and, latterly, goals.
McGhee notched three times in four games during Dundee’s successful playoff campaign but has been utilised at centre-half and left-back this season.