Josh Meekings says things are starting to click for Dundee as they head into the new year but knows better than most how tough a task they face this weekend.
The Dens Park skipper reckons the second-half performance at Tannadice last Friday night showed the Dark Blues have learned lessons from the first half of the campaign.
And he plans, along with his team-mates, to continue to put those lessons into practice against Inverness at Dens on Saturday.
The central defender, who lifted the Scottish Cup as Caley Thistle captain in 2015, said: “Saturday is another tough one against Inverness at home.
“We know what Inverness are like. They have been very good this season, picking up points and had been on a little run up until last Saturday.
“I keep repeating myself to everybody but it is only about us and what we do because we can’t affect anybody else’s results, we need to keep plugging away ourselves like we have been doing.
“Last Friday was a bit more positive compared with the previous two derbies – I think we learned from those games.
“As a group we are all learning together and getting better. I think that is starting to show on the pitch.
“Looking back over the past few weeks, at the time you want three points at Arbroath but, in hindsight, it was a decent point in hard conditions.
“They are no mugs and showed that at the weekend again.
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“We went into Dunfermline and Partick and picked up two positive results but we are taking it a game at a time, maintaining our focus and working hard.
“That’s all we can do, trust the management and then trust what we can do on the pitch.
“We had so many bodies coming in during the summer, a massive turnover and that always takes a little while.
“The manager has changed things, formations, tactics, and I do feel we are starting to click a bit better.
“It’s only positive right now for us and we need to keep our head down. We can only do our job and not bother about other teams in the league.”
Skipper Meekings and his team-mates took a lot out of the 1-1 draw at leaders Dundee United, particularly after going behind so early.
“We showed a lot of character and dug in last Friday,” he added.
“We’d been behind before in derbies and obviously suffered after that but this time we showed a bit of character and got back into it in the second half.
“I think the last 10 minutes we gave it our all but couldn’t quite get that second goal.
“It’s a good point on the road after a good period where we have picked up some points.
“We had a sticky period and we’ve got out of it.
“It was difficult at Tannadice the previous time so it is a bit more positive.”
The 27-year-old, however, admits he feared the Dark Blues could have been in for another long night at Tannadice after Nicky Clark nipped in front of him to score after five minutes.
A few choice words at half-time, though, brought out much better from Dundee in the second period.
“When you are a centre-half and an early goal goes in against you, you think ‘we’ve got it all to do now’.
“The boys dug deep, we all got stuck in – there was a bit said at half-time between the players and we needed that.
“Moving forward, we need that drive and energy because it is a long season still – we are only halfway done and there is plenty to play for.”
Meekings was also pleased to be able to give the club’s fans a cheerier festive period after a pretty gloomy 2019.
He added: “Hopefully, we gave our fans a decent Christmas and they could enjoy the New Year a bit more.
“We would have loved to have given them three points but I think we showed passion and did everything we could last Friday.
“We couldn’t quite get that second goal but it is a positive result.
“If you show energy and passion like that, the fans will respond.
“We wanted the three points but the derby was a positive point and the fans kept backing us.
“We’ll keep fighting for them.”