Following an extremely difficult start to the Scottish Premiership season, Dundee have finally seem to have found their feet after a tough start in the league.
The 2017/2018 season ended on a high for Dundee, as Neil McCann was able to guide his side to safety after finishing a comfortable six points above the other relegation candidates, and Partick Thistle would end up taking the play-off spot to the second division. But the problems at the club were just about to begin.
A busy transfer window
The transfer window serves a purpose, and that’s to either strengthen and/or replace those players in your squad to give the club the best chance possible at achieving something for the upcoming season, whether it be challenging for the title or fighting for survival in the league.
In Dundee’s case, their transfer policy was questionable, and a vast amount of changes were made over the summer. It is perhaps understandable that the squad needed a breath of fresh air for the upcoming campaign, or maybe to get rid of the deadwood still lingering at the club.
The Dee made a whopping 33 transfers during the window. Nine were permanent signings, of which the most notable one was the free transfer of Kenny Miller from Livingston, after the 38-year-old striker left the West Lothian club following a disagreement with the club’s board regarding his role at the club. A further four players were brought in via loans, including Calvin Miller from Celtic.
On the exiting end, Dundee let go of twelve players from their squad, allowing players such as Steven Caulker to leave, who now finds himself a free agent after playing a mere fourteen times for Dundee. Moreover, eight players were also loaned out of the club, bringing the total of players leaving to twenty.
Whilst change can be good, sometimes quality is better than quantity, and it seems to be the case for the Dee, who struggled to gain any sort of consistency during the initial months of the Scottish Premiership season.
In an interview with The Courier, Neil McCann stated that he signed a player that he believed would mature into playing the type of football he wanted them to play- but maybe that’s where the now ex-manager went wrong. When you’re fighting for survival, it’s not a good idea to start experimenting when so much is at stake, even if the benefits of it paying off are more positive than playing it simple.
On the mend?
This past weekend saw the club earn a hard-fought point at home against Steven Gerrard’s Rangers, in a match that saw the hosts play for 70 minutes with 10 men. Kenny Miller’s struck again for his side against his old team in the opening 10 minutes, but Nathan Ralph’s sending-off would lead to the Gers’ goal- but the scoreline wouldn’t budge for the remainder of the game, and Dundee put on a brave display of defensive football.
This latest result will no doubt have a positive feel about it, as the Dee really pushed themselves to the limit to ensure that they made it out of the relegation zone, which they ultimately accomplished.
Full Time | Dundee FC 1 v Rangers 1 #thedee
— Dundee Football Club (@DundeeFC) December 9, 2018
The result was no more that the club deserves, and the effect Jim McIntyre is beginning to have for the Dark Blues is really starting to show. Even after McCann’s departure and McIntyre’s appointment, the Dee still struggled to get any results.
In fact, McIntyre was doing even worse than his predecessor, as the Alexandria native could not guide his side to any points during his first four games in charge, losing every single fixture whilst failing to score at all. Moreover, the Dee were thrashed 4-0, 3-0, 5-0 and finally 1-0.
But November’s international week gave the players a well-deserved break, and it gave them the time they needed to regroup and regain their strength as they started a few crucial games in the league.
A 1-1 draw against fellow relegation candidates St Mirren wasn’t the best outcome for either side, but in reality it has now given the Dee the edge over the Buddies in the table. Next up they faced a tough trip to Edinburgh, but Dundee would come back from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with Hibs, before then hosting Hamilton and thrashing the Accies 4-0 after a much-needed victory for McIntyre.
Then came this past weekend’s result over Rangers, and the draw now means that the Dark Blues’ boss has failed to drop points in over four matches, as well as guiding his side out of the automatic relegation place and just four points behind Hamilton, whilst also having a game in hand.
Will Dundee remain in the Premiership?
The season isn’t even at its halfway mark, but the league table is beginning to shape itself. There’s already a clear cut-off point between Hibs, who are in 8th place and on 23 points, and Motherwell, who are a place below the Edinburgh club but with just 15 points.
Dundee have been able to gain some traction over the last month, and McIntyre would do well to try and keep their momentum going for the rest of December before the winter break going into the new year.
The Dee have an extremely tough calendar for the rest of the month. They face three away trips in a row to Kilmarnock, Aberdeen and Celtic, before hosting Livingston and St Johnstone to finish the year off. The Dark Blues should aim to try and take at least 9 points from the remaining games, and it won’t be an easy task, but the club has to try their best to ensure that it happens.
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